Priceless Advice to Profit

One of the best things you can do to profit, is to step away from your business.

I heard a preacher last month say “I love those big red double-decker buses they have in London. I took a photo of one for you!”

Up on a giant screen flashed a completely red screen. And he said “Sometimes you’re too close to see what is right in front of you!”

So, getting some distance is often the first step to getting wisdom.

Have you ever met someone who only ever sees problems (even when everyone else is awestruck by a miracle)? They think they’re so clever they want to put floaties on Jesus because they think they alone understand the difficulties that Jesus just can’t see.

Even if you’re not surrounded by problems or problem people, take some time out from listening to your own thoughts and from seeing what is up close. Listen to the advice of others who have already beaten their own path to profit.

Often, they’ll tell you how profit is the worst place to start (but a great place to end).

One of the unique things about entrepreneurs, unlike other business owners, is that they are usually creating something brand new. So there’s not necessarily going to be technical advice of how to solve your specific problems.

But there are clues left by other entrepreneurs about what might be even more important – people like Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.

The point is, there’s always help. This video helped me – I trust you are at least inspired to pursue your own pathways to profit. And hopefully also learn something that you can put into action today to help you see a double-decker busload of profit heading your way!

 

My Dream Thief

A thief steals but he isn’t a robber.

A robber takes something by force or threat. A robber will walk into the biggest bank in town, in broad daylight, and demand that you give him all the money he wants.

He is brazen, direct and often brutal.

He may try and disguise himself with a balaclava and arm himself with a shotgun.He doesn’t care if he is the lead story on the evening news  – it all adds to the intimidation and fear he wants to create in you. It might even make his next robbery easier.

You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’ve been robbed. If you survive the ordeal, and you have enough remaining courage, you can tell the police exactly what time you were robbed and what was taken.

Compare that with a thief. He wants to conceal the robbery, not just his identity, at least until he has made his getaway, but often much longer.

A thief aims to be so sneaky that you may never even know you’ve been robbed.

Sometimes, sadly, these thieves have not only stolen, they have also murdered and destroyed.

When I help people with their finances, I often find that there is a hidden thief at work, and they have no idea.

Sometimes, they are even co-operating with the thieves.

Sometimes, they didn’t notice anything was missing because the thief has replaced the real thing with a fake. The stolen goods may not even be financial, but are still very precious; hope, laughter, peace, love, relaxation, friendship, innocence, romance, confidence, trust, integrity.

I know too many people who get to a certain age and realise their dreams have been stolen, killed, destroyed. And they have no idea when or how it happened. When I was young, I used to dream of standing in front of an audience of people who loved what I had to say. In fact, I didn’t just dream about it, I did it. If someone gave me a doll, I wouldn’t play with the doll, I would add the doll to my audience. But pets and pot plants were just as good 🙂

If I had to explain to myself as a child that I didn’t speak to audiences anymore, because no one invited me, or no one paid me, no one supported me, or no one thought I was any good, child-Shaz wouldn’t understand. Because child-Shaz knew she did it for the pure joy of just doing it.

For many years, my pay packet was actually the fake thing that stopped me from realising I’d been stolen from. I ignored the desires of my heart in exchange for mere money. My bank account was prospering, but my soul certainly wasn’t. Money was my master, my dream thief.

It took me a long time to realise that my job is not my life; my life is my job. Now, I’m following my dreams (yes, Mum, even when I don’t get paid).

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Jesus only mentioned one enemy of an abundant life.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The work of a thief is hidden. Judas was not a robber, he was a thief. The mask he chose was not a balaclava, that would’ve been far too obvious; Judas was devious.

He looked like He was supporting Jesus, but when no one was looking, Judas was stealing from Him. While Judas was kissing Jesus, he was betraying him. He seemed one thing on the outside, but on the inside, he was the exact opposite. He looked like he was raising funds, but he was depleting them.

Judas had control of the money box “and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:6).

Judas not only took money from Jesus, he also got the thirty pieces of silver from the priests. But in the end, he realised the money was a horrible substitute for life. (He tried to give back the thirty pieces of silver, before he hanged himself – Matthew 27:3-5).

Some of the things and people that may have supported you at one time, may now be sneaky thieves robbing from you.

  • Distraction can rob you of time, it kills focus.
  • Debt can destroy freedom, it often brings slavery.
  • Fear can kill faith, it often brings containment.
  • Criticism can steal joy, it often brings shame.
  • Procrastination can rob you of productivity, it often brings barrenness.

I encourage you to take an inventory, actually write a list of things that have been stolen. Check out if everything you have now is genuine, or have you accepted a poor imitation of the real thing? Are you living your dreams, or has someone or something stolen, killed and destroyed the abundant life that Christ came to give you?

Attention please…

I was 12. In my first year of high school. Learning new subjects, compulsory subjects that I had no interest in.

The first word I learned in German was “Achtung”.

My teacher was very fond of saying it.

I’d heard it in the war movies my dad was fond of, too.

Little did I know how important “attention”, in any language, would become in my life.

Today’s economy, including vast tech profits from blogging and social media, is predicated on this oh so powerful concept.

If people aren’t paying attention to you, they won’t be paying money to you, or anything else, either.

Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump, is brilliant at getting attention. In television, real estate and presidential campaigns, the ability to garner attention is one of the key drivers of success. And, as Donald has discovered more recently, attention is a double-edged sword that can just as easily bring failure.

Whilst you’re reading this you’re probably not paying attention to the temperature your skin is feeling, how hungry your stomach is, the smell of your body odour, the taste of the saliva in your mouth, the way your face is resting, the sounds surrounding you and a thousand other things. The Reticular Activating System in your brain has filtered them out so you can focus your attention on learning (great decision by the way! ;-).

Have you ever had the experience where you’ve bought a new car or new dress and then suddenly you see it appearing everywhere? It’s not because they weren’t there before. It’s just that now you’ve started paying attention, you can see what has always been there. It’s the job of the brain to *not* notice most things. You are receiving information on things all the time – and 99.9% of things are filtered out from your attention automatically by the brain.

In the bible, the word “attention” is used more in Proverbs than in any other book. The writer of Proverbs was the wisest man in all the world. He urges us to pay attention to wisdom, understanding, words of instruction.

King Solomon also warns kings that when the leader is paying attention to lies it can multiply results and transform all of his team into “wicked” servants. Be very careful about placing the full force of your organisation on something that no-one should be paying attention to.

Where you place your attention  is a fundamental tenet of wisdom. If you use your attention wisely, strategically, it can radically transform your results.

I’m amazed what most people *think* is their biggest problem. It might be their weight, their debt, their back pain, their partner. But really, the source of most of these problems, is that they are paying attention to the wrong things. Even the fact that they think these problems are their biggest problem is, more often than not, the cause as well as the symptom of their real problems. And usually it is also blocking them from seeing the solutions they need.

Political campaigners know that there are all kinds of things we can give attention to; sex, sports, stocks, soap operas… We can get all caught up in gossip, criticism, fear… and politics.

Or we can give our attention to faith, opportunities, success, profits, the best in people, things we can be thankful for, tolerance, patience, amazing grace, love.

Every day, every second really, you have a fresh opportunity to choose where to place your attention. Do it strategically, and you’ll find that one act alone will transform your results.

If I haven’t said it to you before, thank you for reading. I appreciate your attention.

 

Positioning Strategies

Developing a positioning strategy for a startup business, is always deliberate and can be a very involved and daunting process for the first-time entrepreneur.

A positioning strategy helps a business communicate to the market the best benefits of their product.

It involves analysis of your customers, your competitors and of course, your own strengths, weaknesses, resources and so on.

You may decide to position your product as a premium provider that is associated with high quality and may be considered expensive compared to other options.

Or you may want to be the cheapest, the quickest, the most Australian, the most environmentally friendly, the coolest, etc.

As a business matures, it may re-position itself away from a niche product towards a more mainstream position. Or it might go the other way.

When things change, businesses will sometimes respond with a different positioning. For example, McDonald’s responded to healthier eating patterns by re-positioning themselves not just as a burger restaurant, but as a fast-food provider for all tastes.

But it’s not just businesses that are concerned with positioning.

The bible is full of stories of God maneuvering people into and out of positions. Unlike the deliberate planning of business positioning, the bible stories show protagonists completely unaware of the positioning process.

Esther was forcibly removed from her homeland into a foreign palace “for such a time as this”. Often these people spend significant time with no idea what is going on… until the moment reveals the significance of where they are.

I had one of those moments this week.

I found myself perfectly positioned to talk to Australia’s first female Muslim member of Parliament, Anne Aly. It was a surprisingly emotional conversation as she shared her anticipation at the diversity of voices in the upcoming parliament. And I shared how my idea of heaven is where every tribe and every voice is included.

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29 July 2016 Anne Aly, Australia’s first female Muslim Member of Parliament, with myself and DRO for Cowan, Yvonne Masgai at the official Declaration of the Poll.

When I said yes to “Project Double D” all I knew was a Double Dissolution election would more than likely be called. I didn’t know which candidates would nominate. I certainly didn’t know that in a few short months, I’d be positioned as an eyewitness to political history.

The thing is the project was not one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever been a part of. So next time, things aren’t going as well as I’d hoped – I’m going to try and keep in mind that it may be positioning me for something way more significant than I could ever understand, let alone be aware of beforehand.

I feel like there’s a lot of people who are going through major changes this year in preparation for new positions after this. You may have tried analysis of your own strengths and weaknesses and resources … and still have no idea now what is happening or why, yet.

As they say in the entertainment industry…. stay tuned!

 

Growing 120x in 12 weeks

Multiplying is something I love. I think, actually, that’s what is at the core of my fascination with technology.

My current project involves working with an organisation that grows from about 800 people to 97,000 people in just 12 weeks.That’s a pretty rapid and radical multiplication!

Growing an organisation by more than one hundred times in less than three months is a strange mix of excitement, frustration and chaos.

Oh and did I mention that even though we are increasing the people by 12,000% we’re only increasing the budget by 50%?

Systems that are designed to serve 800 people don’t work well when you suddenly try to make them serve 97,000 people.

But if I could only change one thing in this whole organisation to make the best outcome for the least effort, I wouldn’t change the budget, I’d change just this …

Q U E E N C E S

I made a video about this 7 years ago …

  • how queences can help you do impossible things
  • how queences can bring order into chaos
  • how queences can explain why two people doing the same things with the same resources can have radically different results

 

 

 

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Blue Ivy and Me

12742376_10153370296015924_5515112143764004321_nI was boarding my flight from Sydney last week when I noticed that Beyonce was sitting in first class with Jay-z. Their daughter, Blue Ivy, had the most amazing pink bunny ears on top of her head for Easter, and I really wanted to ask them to have a selfie with me. But I restrained myself because I imagined what it would be like if everyone on the plane asked them that, and how invasive it would be.

But about 3 hours into the 5 hour flight, Beyonce and Blue Ivy came walking down the back of the plane just as I was getting up to go to the toilet (okay I might’ve got up a little bit quicker, when I saw them. Little bit). I crouched down in the aisle and said to Blue Ivy “I love your bunny ears!”. Her eyes lit up and she wrapped her tiny, pudgy arms around her mother’s impossibly long legs and said “someone else likes my ears mommy!”

It was just a tiny kindness. I’ll remember it more than her for sure. But what happened next, blew me away!

I was one of the last people to get off the flight and nearly everyone else had long since left the arrivals gate and hurried off to collect their baggage from the conveyor belts conveniently located about a million miles away, down two flights of stairs. But as I was about to hurry off myself, a stewardess touched my elbow and said “Miss Jones, I was asked to give you this.” It was an envelope with very florid hand writing on it. It said “Miss Bunny Ears”.

I opened the envelope and inside was a letter from Beyonce. She wrote about how homesick Blue Ivy had been during their Australian tour, and how she had had “a total meltdown” at the hotel that very morning because she felt like she was so far from home and had no friends, no-one even noticed her, everyone just wanted to talk to her mummy and daddy. And she just wanted to go home. She was not looking forward to going even further away from home, to Perth.

There was also a drawing, obviously done by Blue Ivy. This kid is no Picasso! But I think it was her with the bunny ears, her mummy and daddy (who were very skinny), and I’m guessing I’m the very fat woman who is crouching down with her huge bottom in the air!

Along with Beyonce’s letter and Ivy Blue’s drawing, was a cheque, signed by Jay-Z (I didn’t know his real name was Shawn Carter until that moment). It was in US Dollars. And it was for one million of those dollars.

Giving up a selfie, and giving a self-less compliment to a little girl, had left me jumping for joy at arrivals gate 23 in Perth airport!

Sometimes not getting what you want is even better than getting what you want.

Okay. Of course, I wasn’t a flight with Beyonce – she has her own private jet! And I didn’t get a million dollars from Jay-Z. I just made it up.

The point is, sometimes life as a witness is better when you make stuff up.

Understand that Jesus didn’t use very much scripture. He mainly used scripture when he was talking to religious people. But when he was talking to everyday people, especially when he was speaking in public, he hardly ever referred to bible writers.

He mainly used lies. Well, not everyone calls them lies. Some people call it pretend or creativity or fiction.

He made stuff up.

There really wasn’t a sower who started sowing on rocky ground – he just made it up.

Do you really believe there was a prodigal son who spent all of his father’s money? No! He just made it up.

As for a good Samaritan, that’s like saying there was a good Osama Bin Laden. He just made it up.

The point is that all of his stories had a point. All of his fiction was designed to tell a truth.

Pablo Picasso, the amazing artist, died in 1973. But his art will never die. And one of his quotes about art is illuminating for all who seek to witness.

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

Jesus might never have painted a canvas, but he was very creative in his communication. He often used lies to reveal a truth.

I’m not suggesting you start telling lies about facts. But I am suggesting that you practice storytelling. God is the Creator. Ask for God’s help in creating creative stories.

Hopefully, you’re going to be a witness for the rest of your life. So think about how you will be telling your story in five years’ time. Think about what sort of technology you can use to tell your story now.

I had a young girl look very surprised tonight when I told her I was on snapchat. She said “Oh, I thought that was just the younger generation, like fourteen year olds”.  Let me tell you, this forty-nine year old is already thinking about how I can tell creative stories using mobile and virtual reality technologies that aren’t even available yet!

Practice creating new stories from the everyday world you live in, that will put the spotlight on a truth others might not yet be able to see. If you’re worried about developing the reputation of a liar, I’ve found the morning of April Fools’ Day is a great time to practice.

The above is an excerpt from my new book “Witness” which is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com

 

 

Stretching

 A seagull looks so small when it’s wings are tucked under. But when those wings are stretched out, seagulls seem larger!

I recently heard Brendon Burchard suggest that you should stretch every  morning to begin your day. His reasoning was that making your physical body open and flexible would impact on your mental and emotional abilities to be open and flexible too.

I only tried it once. But it didn’t seem to do much.

I also tried moving to the other side of the continent without much notice and with no visible means of support and just a small suitcase.

That had a far greater impact… stretching is about testing your limits. And creating a larger life.

I learned that I am open and flexible in most things and a bit of a control enthusiast in others.

For example, I don’t like living out of a suitcase. I like having everything in its place.

I also like having my own space.

I really like space. I’m surprised by how irritating I find clutter.

I like having more than five changes of clothes (especially underwear).

I don’t mind buses and trains but I miss my car when I have to walk.

I like visiting friends I haven’t seen for ages. And meeting new friends.

When was the last time you really stretched yourself to live differently?

Is it time to spread your wings again? #soar

Global Networking

My focusing phrase for 2016 is “Expand and Advance”.

I’m planning to expand and advance in many areas this year.

One of those areas is to expand my global network.

I’m looking primarily for Christian business people in Australia, as well as all different parts of the world.

I’m also looking for people who have nothing at all in common with me. People who will challenge, critique, educate, inspire and stretch me.

So if you’d like to join my global network this year, please follow the blog, leave a comment and let me know how I can serve you. #GoGlobal

global network

That Used To Be My Comfort Zone

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What scares you?

Do that.

Soon.

It will stretch your comfort zone way quicker than reading 100 personal development or self-help books.

I spent last night at the Comedy Lounge in Perth doing my first stand-up comedy gig.

I. Was. Terrified.

There was actually a much larger crowd than I was prepared for.

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That’s my dad right ………………………………………. *there* ^^

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And my friends Michelle, Heidi, Jodie, Mike and Simon, too. (Not shown are Emma and her dad, and Heleen).

Also, you can see quite a few people standing up at the back because despite putting out all the extra tables and chairs, there still wasn’t enough of either.

Two of those people standing at the back, on the right hand side are Big Col and Mike G, two of my favourite comedians. They were in the audience when I performed. Which felt like one too many tables had turned!

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There were all sorts of people in the audience and young and old, hipsters and dags were all having a good laugh together.

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There were people like Cam Knight who have regular television gigs on the Comedy Channel and have spent 15 years doing stand-up comedy.

I was waaaaayheyhey outside my comfort zone. My face was flushed, my throat was dry. I had spent at least forty hours writing and rewriting material, and memorisation and rehearsal time on top of that. I was trying to remind myself to breathe, and hoping that I’d get to the part where I would enjoy myself sometime soon. The bloke next to me asked me to turn my heart “boombox” down – it was thumping, visibly.

But as you can see I had friends supporting me, and I was helping others have a not too shabby Thursday night, no matter how awkward and nervous I was. It was one of the most vulnerable times I have ever experienced. And I met some of the finest people I’d met in a long time!

I talked about all kinds of things… marriage, kids, diets, selfies, business, Centrelink, comedy, church, bourbon – lots of things. But the really curious thing was that there was only one topic that everyone wanted to talk about – “the Jesus thing”.

Nearly everyone else there was using “Jesus Christ” as a curse word.

And yet, it struck me that all of us, no matter how anti-religious we seem, have an inner Jesus-detector that goes off like a metal detector finding a coin at the beach.

There can be loads of sand covering up years of successful hiding. But when you talk about Jesus in an open, sincere way, even if the context is comedy, it sets off a resonance deep inside every human heart.

And you can’t bleep that out.

No matter how outside your comfort zone He is.

So, you may as well just invite Him in.

(Pic Credits: Comedy Lounge, Charles Hotel, Perth.)

 

Survival of the Funniest

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So, you know how when you make a New Year’s Resolution, statistically you’re going to give up on it in less than a week.

In December, 2015 I had a few people who seemed to go out of their way to make me feel bad. They seemed intent on thinking the worst of me and going out of their way to tell me so, pointing out all the ways that I was failing to live up to their expectations and how I didn’t fit in.

So I made a New Year’s Resolution:
In 2016 I will do my best to make people feel good.

I kicked around a few ideas with my friend, Liz, and like all good friends she promised to help my dreams come true, as long as I paid her ten percent commission.

That’s when things started to go pear-shaped.

One night I was on Facebook and I got distracted and clicked on one too many links, thinking “this will make Liz’s job easier”.

Immediately, I got an email saying “Congratulations! You’ve registered for a Raw Comedy heat next week.”

As soon as I saw the email I thought “What have I done?”

I laughed (nervously) that the poster implied that most don’t survive the experience.

People keep telling me that I’m brave. But my heart is actually freaking out. My head reassures me that it is not actually life threatening to stand up in a pub and try to make people have a laugh.

So, if you’re in Perth, and you want to see my comedy debut this Thursday night, you can buy tickets and get more details here (Heat 1):
http://www.comedylounge.com.au/2011/raw-comedy-2015/

I’d love to see you there.

I’ve never done anything like this before, so I can’t promise that it will be good. But I can promise that it comes from a good place – and I will do my best to make people feel good.

The irony is, I feel nauseous!

Unlike, my New Year’s Resolution, I hope the nausea doesn’t last more than a week.