Hawaii Five Oh

In my head, it seemed totally ridiculous; I wanted to spend thousands of dollars to travel to the other side of the world, for what? Because I was inspired by the name of a television show, Hawaii Five Oh!

Nevertheless, I did. 

And it made my heart happy.

I celebrated my 50th birthday by  lulling around by the pool, drinking Frozen Pina Coladas and reading books. 

Classes to learn local skills like hula dancing and lei making were followed by afternoon naps.

Tours exploring local geography and history like Pearl Harbor reminded me of expensive lessons and the value of peace.

Days of shopping – including my first ever purchase at Tiffany & Co – meant I came back with so much more than I arrived with.

And of course, the utter joy of catching up with old friends and making new friends.

I also spoke at the inaugural Righteousness, Relationships & Riches conference. #R3Conf

It’s amazing the way travel literally reveals new perspective to you. And how nourishing for the soul fresh revelation can be. Sweeter than even Hawaiian fresh pineapple on Waikiki Beach.


Thank you to Qantas for flying me there and Hilton Hawaiian Village resort for hosting me. 

If you’re celebrating your 50th birthday anytime soon, my only advice is -Book ’em Dano! 😉 

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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!

 

Why Vision-casting is so Powerful and Productive

Robert Redford, Steve Jobs, David Cameron… all the best leaders spend at least some of their time casting vision.

But why? What is it about vision-casting that is so productive for already powerful, global leaders?

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Well, firstly, vision effects outcome. And sometimes the stakes can be really high. Consider Britain’s decision this week on whether to remain or leave the European Economic Union.

The future of an entire nation changed in one day. Powerful!

On the other side of the world, Australian shares lost $50 billion of value in shock.

The question of whether to stay or “Brexit” was quintessentially a question of vision. What kind of future did the people of Britain want? A future based on the possibilities of partnership with their powerful neighbours in Europe, or the freedom and control of a self-reliant future.

To cast their competing visions, leaders travelled the length and breadth of the country, several times over, to meet with people personally. Yes, there were brochures, and media appearances and social media campaigns, but the majority of time spent by the leaders was spent in front of a voter’s face.

At first glance, especially from a time-management point of view, this might seem like an incredibly unproductive thing to do. Why shake one person’s hand, when you could tweet to twenty million during that same time? Why address a small community meeting of eighty entrepreneurs in a tiny village when you could instead be interviewed on BBC broadcasting to eight million viewers?

Even Donald Trump, who doesn’t like shaking hands with anyone, and will (*probably) tell you himself “I’ve made a lot of money in media, I’m very good on television. I translate very well on Twitter”, has spent months out on the road criss-crossing America with personal appearances.

It’s all about the Proximity of Presence. There’s something about being in the presence of the vision-holder that doesn’t quite transcend into traditional and social media. Blogs and those other channels are great supplements, reminders and reinforcements, but for truly productive vision-casting think Michelle Pfeifer and Robert Redford – try and get all Up Close and Personal. (Yes, I realise the irony of quoting a non-personal appearance to encourage personal appearances 😉

Okay, so we’ve answered why vision-casting is necessary (the stakes are high), we’ve answered how to do it (up close and personal). But why does it work so effectively?

Here’s how Steve Jobs answered that question:

vision
If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. #quote Steve Jobs

Ephron W. Taylor said it  this way. “Define the vision (this is the seed of self-leadership)”.

Leaders multiply into more leaders through vision-casting. Leaders help you lead yourself, and ultimately lead others, by planting and nourishing vision.

If a leader can plant the seed of vision in you, she doesn’t have to spend mountains of energy or time to motivate you towards success, that seed will grow generations of motivation in you, from the inside out. You’ll probably even start dropping seeds in your own network of contacts.

Vision is the ultimate leverage. You’ll achieve much more, with much less, if you cast vision seeds that grow into their own orchards of vision in others. And it’s massively scaleable – vision can multiply rapidly.

So next time you are talking with someone you want to work with, think of the weird old Christmas Carol lyric:

Do you see what I see?” (it also talks about lambs, talking wind, and stars with tails who have apparently gone out for a disco – probably best NOT to think about those things if you want your vision to sound credible 😉

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

The vision locomotive just pulled an entire nation into massive change in one day – such massive and quantifiable change it had billions of dollars of economic impacts in the hip pockets of investors on the other side of the world. And that’s just day one of the changes.

 

If you want your work to produce such powerful and productive effects, lead with your hand. Get off the computer for a change and go and shake someone’s hand. Because if we can learn anything from sexy Robert Redford, it’s that even the most visionary leaders look better up close and personal.

 

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.