My night with Boy George

Wednesday night was one of the coldest night’s in Perth for five years. I was miserable. It was hump day.

And I was going to a Culture Club concert at HBF Stadium.

There was so much I should love about it – I love live music, I love doing something different, I love going out with friends… but I was cold.

And I hate being cold.

Also I had the sniffles – my nose was like a snot tap that had blown a washer so you couldn’t turn it off you just had to try and use tissues like a cork to plug it up every now and again.

The opening act was Kids in the Kitchen. Aussie band. From the 80s.

So much to like – I love anything Aussie, I loved the 80s, I love bands.

They were woeful.

But they served as a valuable reference point.

Because when Culture Club took the stage, I realised that Kids in the Kitchen had the same venue, the same crowd, the same sound system and lighting and …. it was only the lack of talent that was holding them back.

Boy George (I feel like since we’ve both been around since before the 80s, I should call him Man George now) entered to a standing ovation.

Yes, that’s right. Before he was even on stage, he commanded more applause than Kids in the Kitchen had for their finale.

I won’t tell you all the things that happened after that.

But it was strangely spiritual. And I was no longer cold. So I’ll give you the bit that’s like the warm weather between spring and autumn.

#summary

Mind blown.

After my review was published, the owner of Culture Club’s PR company was so impressed, she showed it to Boy George himself.

I’m always amazed about where my words end up. So I should know better. And I do regret my comments about his green eye-shadow.

But here’s my review for Primo Life magazine (Pic credit: Primo Life)

My Night with Boy George

 

boy george review

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.

 

Change – How does it happen?

change brendon burchard

One of the things I love most about Australia is that we are open to change. Whether it be business, technology or politics we’re keen to be early adopters. This year we got our fifth Prime Minister in as many years.

Change can be a great thing. One of the things Jesus fought against was tradition.

Recently, I watched a video from Brendon Burchard. I always get at least one great insight even when it’s just his sales pitch.

This insight, on change, has been changing me – changing the way I look at my life, and the lives of others.

Change happens either by something new coming into your life, or by something new coming out of YOU.

What are you doing to invest in you becoming more?

To use a cliche, do something your future self will thank you for.

Create more, try a new food, switch up your schedule.

Meditate, pray, learn. Intentionalise change from within.

Influence usually flows from contribution. What are you doing for others?

How can you change to do it better, quicker, cheaper, for more people? I chose a shorter blog post, hoping it will serve those who are so busy at this time of year.

Who knows? One small change might change your life in a big way.

You might even end up being our next Prime Minister. We’re due for another change next year.

 

Failure Is The Best Option

pole vaulter

How does a pole vaulter know when he’s reached his full potential?

How does a pole vaulter know when she’s the best in the world?

The only way to tell is to keep going higher until everyone has reached the point of failure. Only then will you know if you have reached your highest potential, and if that is as good or better than everyone else.

Never hire a pole vaulter as a maintenance engineer. Their motto is “If it ain’t broke, keep going until it is!” That’s how they become record-breakers.

Most people will give up long before they fail .. they’ll give up as soon as they feel uncomfortable, as soon as they feel a bit stretched, a bit incompetent, a bit different, a bit tired, a bit broke, a bit persecuted, a bit criticised, a bit rejected …

Winners will keep fighting through everything – way past the point of quitting – and make sure they reach failure.

If you want to be really successful, failure is the best option.

When you are an investor you quickly learn that one success can make up for many, many failures.

When you are a business owner, all of your customers would rather you fail and stick around than have one success and then quit supplying them.

I feel over-qualified to talk about failure. I’ve had marriage failures, financial failures, countless diet failures, health failures, spiritual failures and so on.

And I’ve had my small share of success, too.

If you read the gospels (and I hope you do – you’ll be blessed!), you’ll see one particular person failing over and over and over again.

Then becoming the leader that the Son of God could entrust His bride too.

Jesus trained people for leadership not by asking them to read a blog post or attend a meeting, but by supervising their actual failure. In Training and Development this is called “The Peter Principle”. In Masterchef it’s called “The Pressure Test”.

Imagine you wanted to build a building and someone offered you some new building materials that hadn’t been tested yet. As a responsible builder, you would definitely refuse.

Builders must prove that their buildings meet standards based on points of failure. Extensive load testing is done to ensure that a building can handle:

  1. Dead load – the amount of weight of the building before anyone moves in.
  2. Live load – all the weight that is added when people move in (the weight of the people themselves, especially if it is a stadium, but also aquariums, safes, computers, furniture, bookcases etc.)
  3. Safety Factor – a margin of error or excess. For example, if I tell you your building floor “can safely support 1,000 kgs” and it has a safety factor of 2.0 I won’t expect it to fail until it is supporting 2,000 kgs.

Structural engineers get excited when they hear a building is slated for demolition because before it is demolished they will use it to test extreme loads. If it’s going to be demolished anyway, it’s the perfect place to monitor at what points the tell-tale signs of failure (e.g. stress cracks) occur along the way. So they can save lives in new buildings.

Because Peter had been thoroughly tested, Jesus knew it was safe to build His church on him. He was rock-solid because he’d failed.

When Christ proclaimed him as a rock, it was only minutes later that Peter failed and earned Christ’s rebuke “Get behind me Satan”.

Peter wanted to build a building when He saw Christ transfigured. That was just one of his failures.

When Peter moved out of the boat and started walking on the water, he was already ahead of all of the others who stayed safe in the boat … or was he? I bet he didn’t think so when he was drowning! But he was learning about live loads.

When he followed Jesus on the night He was arrested, Peter had learnt the advantage of a safety factor when he “followed at a distance” (Luke 22:54).

In that same night, he had already failed to stay awake, he failed to pray, and he even failed when he got the sword out in Gethsemane and cut off Malchus’s ear (John 18:10-11).

And all of this was before he failed to even acknowledge knowing Christ, let alone be His witness. Three denials, three more failures, in the same night.

So why did God choose Peter to take the lead on the Day of Pentecost and later open the door to the Gentiles and build the church?

Why didn’t he choose someone with a record of success or at least a clean slate?

Because only Peter had been on the journey God wants to take us all on – way beyond our point of quitting – right up to our point of failure.

There’s something about the point of failure that makes it the ideal lookout point. You can see things, you can’t see anywhere else.

And what was it Jesus wanted Peter to see most clearly?

  • Do you love me?
  • Feed my sheep.

When someone shows they love you, you don’t ask for their resume or their bank balance. All you really care about is are they going to love you past the point where everyone else would quit.

And a starving sheep doesn’t care whether you’ve won Shepherd of the Year award or not. They just want to know if you’re still going to be meeting their needs and keeping them alive past the point when everyone else left so they could have their own needs met.

The real needs in life are only met by people who know how to continually pass through quitting and keep going until they reach the best option for any record-breaking pole vaulter, investor or load-testing engineer – the glorious point of failure.