The Aha moment

The Aha moment

As I publish this blog, there is only one week to go before 2023 ends. It has been a year of joyful wonders, adventures, lessons, fun, laughter, tears, challenges, connections, achievements, experiences, breakthroughs, and aha moments. For me anyway, and I am assuming the same for you. As I think back, there is one particular aha moment that will impact me forever more, and as I share it with you, I hope it helps you reflect on your own.

This is a story I have written about this year, so my apologies if you have heard it, however, I believe it’s absolutely worth repeating. Some of the greatest awakenings and fulfilling moments for me this year have been the result of my experiences interacting with the homeless community. I had incredible fear before making the decision to help my friend Kate who is doing amazing work and had been trying to convince me for some time to come and help her feed the homeless. Finally, I did, and the fear was real. It was fear of what to say, fear of what to do, but mostly it was fear of not being able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of these people.

Very quickly I realised that these people didn’t need extraordinary gestures of time or money, they just wanted to feel important. Incredibly, the strength of that message didn’t really hit home until an experience a few days later. I was walking home from an errand, and in a bit of a hurry to get to my destination before my next Zoom meeting. As I was striding up the road, I was approached by a man who may have been homeless, but certainly seemed a little lost. He said hi, and I responded. He started walking with me, which if I am being honest, started worrying me a little. He asked me what my name was, where I lived, and tried to start a conversation. I was polite but guarded, as you can imagine.

When he asked me what I did, I told him I did many things to help people, including writing books. As we were walking, and as I couldn’t seem to shake him, this is how the conversation went from that point;

“What kind of books do you write?” He asked.

“Self-help and personal growth books.” I replied.

“I need to read one of your books.” He stated.

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Because I need help. I am 50 years old, have a dead-end job, and I am a loser.” He declared.

With that statement, God spoke to me. I knew I needed to stop walking and actually connect with this man. As I looked at him, he struggled to look at me eye-to-eye, and I asked him his name.

“My name is Mark.” He replied.

“Mark”, I said, “can you please wait here for a moment?

As I was speaking to him, we had reached a corner where I would turn to get to my home. I didn’t want him to follow me any further, but I did want to get something for him. He agreed to wait, and I went home and got him a copy of my book TEARS of Joy. A few minutes later, I was walking back to give him a copy of my book, proud of myself for such a kind gesture. As I approached him, he looked at me with a surprised look on his face, and the next words that came out of his mouth provided the aha moment that changed my life forever.

He said to me, with genuine surprise, relief, and hope in his voice, “You came back!”

In that moment, it made sense. In that moment, I recognised what all people want most, no matter their circumstances in life. In that moment, I realised that we all just want to be noticed, feel important, and feel worthy of coming back for. I had made Mark’s day. Not because of who I am or how I spoke to him. Not because of the book I gave him. Not because of the short conversation we had. But because I saw him as someone who I would come back for. It was the greatest aha moment I had this year. In fact, it may be the greatest aha moment I have ever had.

Ever since that time, back in January this year, I have treated people – all people – differently. I have made every effort to pay attention, take notice, say hi, and just help them to feel that they are valued, worthy, and important. That one aha moment has made such a difference to me and my life. My question to you is, what was your greatest aha moment in 2023? How did it happen? How did it change you? What has happened as a result? I would love to hear from you, if you would like to share.

In my podcast this week called Better or bitter, Tracy Herbert talks about her own aha moment and how it transformed her life. At the age of 17 she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and told she would not live for more than 20 years and would suffer for her whole life. In that moment, she decided to take control, and now at the age of 64, not only has she outlived her life expectancy by 27 years, she is living a life of joy and purpose.

With the right perspective, 2023 is a year full of treasures just for you. All you need to do is sift through it and you will discover an abundance of gifts, opportunities, lessons, and moments that can, and I hope have changed your life. Find the one significant aha moment for 2023 today.

The greatest nation

The greatest nation

I live in Australia, and I am proud to be an Aussie. There are issues here for sure, as there are in every country, however, I love my home, I love the people, and I love this nation. Would I say it’s the greatest nation? No, I wouldn’t. So, what is? Is it the USA? Many people would argue it is. Maybe it’s China, or Italy, or the many other nations that exist on this wonderful planet. I don’t believe any of them are the greatest. Are you ready to find out what is the greatest nation?

In my mind, the greatest nation is in my mind. And it is in the mind of every person on the planet. This nation has the capability of creating anything. This nation has the ability to totally change someone’s circumstances. This nation defies logic and generates potential and possibility. In fact, it is in this nation that almost everything you experience on a daily basis began. It is a magical nation, it is a nation without limits, it is your nation, and it is my nation. It is by far the greatest nation. It is imagination.

Everything you are currently experiencing in your life, at this moment in time, is the result of your imagination. So, the most important question I want to ask you is, are you using your imagination to lift you, transform you, create great things, and impact many lives, or are you using it to destroy any and all chances of your best life? I hate saying this because it condemns all of us, but if we are not enjoying the life we want, then we are responsible. It stings a little, doesn’t it? What you imagine and what you think about comes about. So, if you are not loving your life, are you ready to start loving it? If you said yes to that, then let’s put the greatest nation to work.

Remember as a child how you imagined great things for your life? Do you remember imagining you could fly, or you were a superhero defending the world from monsters the size of the Empire State Building? As a child, I imagined being a famous Australian Footballer. Many times, my imagination transformed my living room into the Melbourne Cricket Ground with 100,000 screaming fans, a pair of socks or a balloon into a football, and me into the greatest footballer of all time. Little did I know, just a few short years later, I would be invited to train at a professional football club at the age of 16 years old that would lead to a seven-year professional football experience.

It is incredible to think that the phone you are using, the computer you are on, the home you are in, the TV you watch, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the books you read, the music you listen to, the movies you love and most other things you experience at one point did not exist. They started in the greatest nation of all, the imagination. That being the case, what is possible for you to not just imagine, but create in your own life. It has to start in your imagination. Unless you can imagine it, you will never have it. So, now is the time to let your imagination run wild.

For me, logic has never had a place in my imagination. If it had, I would never have played professional sport, become a best-selling author, or manifested many other things I am proud and blessed to have created in my life. Once my imagination had done its job, visualising what I wanted, no matter how illogical it seemed, then I applied logic into the process of bringing the product of my imagination to reality. You see, what you think about, you will bring about, so it’s important to imagine and think about the great things you want in your life.

I was listening to an audio the other day talking about the power of the greatest nation. In it, the speaker used an example of a basketball team struggling to convert free throws into scores. The coach decided to try a different tactic. Rather than getting the players on the court throwing free throws, he got them to sit in the stands and simply imagine that they were throwing free throws and hitting them every time. They hit 100 free throws in their minds each day for the next week, and when they played their next game their conversion rate more than doubled. That’s the power of the greatest nation. In my podcast this week called, Have a crack, I speak with Pablo Miller about his wonderful life of adventure. His latest project started by imagining becoming Mayor of his town in Western Australia, and now he is in the process of making it a reality.

It’s now over to you. You can sit and think about what you don’t have, what you don’t want, and what you don’t like, and guess what? You will keep getting it. When you harness the power of your imagination and start visualising what you want, then get into action, you will be amazed at what you can create. Start living in the positive dominion of the greatest nation today.

Bear witness to the wonderful you

Bear witness to the wonderful you

Our greatest asset and our biggest liability are one and the same thing. It’s our thinking. Just as quickly as we can be presented with a flash of inspiration and possibility, we can talk ourselves out of it. Have you ever heard yourself use the phrase, I would love to, but…? That is exactly what I am talking about, all-in-one sentence; possibility on one hand, and limitations on the other. This is why we need to stop thinking and start bearing witness to the potential each one of us has.

I had one of the most wonderful experiences last week. After a visit with my dad and his partner, I was inspired to visit The Lume, in Melbourne. OMG. There is no way I could possibly try to describe it in any way that would possibly do it any credit at all. Let me try as well as I can, with the help of their website; The Lume is a purpose-built space to seamlessly animate art at such a jaw-dropping scale. Much more than a simple exhibition space, THE LUME Melbourne’s state-of-the-art design combines sights, sounds, tastes, and aromas to give visitors a unique chance to enter into the world of the artist.

The show was called Monet and Friends and showcased the works of Claude Monet and all the French Impressionists of the era. The uniqueness of this exhibition, if that’s what you could call it, is that the artwork was dynamically projected on the walls, the floors, and the ceilings. It was accompanied by animations, music, and sounds that elevated it to a whole different level of immersive experience. It was mind-blowing. On entry, there was a quote projected on the wall by Monet that read:

“All I did was look at what the universe showed me to let my brush bear witness to it”.

In other words, he saw the beauty that was all around him, and he just let the art flow freely through him to his brush and onto the canvas. He didn’t plan it, he didn’t overthink it, he didn’t reason it, and he didn’t even necessarily visualise it. He felt it and then just allowed it to emerge as he bore witness to it. This is artwork that has spanned the globe and delighted people for centuries. It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t considered, it was felt, and it just flowed.

This may sound ethereal, but this quote impacted me in a big way, and I believe there is something here for all of us, if we can understand what it is truly saying. What I take from it is that I already have everything I need inside me. I have the answers, I have the inspiration, I have the courage, I have the potential, and I have the capacity, so all I need to do is let the life I live bear witness to it. You may be asking, what the &$#@ is he talking about? I will let Michelangelo, another famous artist, answer that question.

After many years of sculpting the magnificent Statue of David, Michelangelo was asked how he did it. He answered, “I saw the angel in the marble, and I carved until I set him free”. How do these artists just get it? They have been able to remove logic from creation. This I believe to be one of the greatest keys to success, joy, and happiness in life. It is about feelings, not formulae. It’s about intuition, not intelligence. It’s about faith, not facts. It’s about trust, not theory.

No matter what you may be aspiring to, whether it be better health, stronger relationships, greater impact, career growth, financial stability, or something else, you just need to know, you already have all the answers and capability. All you need to do is start moving intuitively, divinely, and passionately and let the results you get in life bear witness to the potential you have been born with. The bottom-line is that you are good enough, just as you are.

In my fabulous podcast this week with Mark & Monica Sandercock, called, The power of a hug, I was so inspired about the relationship they have built through many challenges and the impact they are now having on many lives. It was not logic but love that allowed Monica to hug Mark after he revealed a very disturbing secret. It was that hug that bore witness to the beautiful relationship which then blossomed.

As I read back through this blog, I find it hard to believe that I wrote it. How does a footballer write this kind of stuff. The answer is simple. As I was inspired by Monet, my fingers on the keyboard bore witness to it. The stereotypes that we all have had thrust upon us by society, conditioning, and generations are no match for what is inside every single person. When we take our eyes off everyone else and put them on God and the universe, and just be lead, we can then move into the creation of a life that bears witness to the amazing person you were born to be.

In pursuit of shoes

In pursuit of shoes

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog called, The courage to know. In that blog, I discussed my first experience, with my friend Kate, connecting with and feeding homeless in Melbourne. It was confronting, perspective building, and necessary. Why do I say necessary? Because, as a man who claims to have a heart for others, I needed to know the truth. I also needed to try to work out how I could do something that would have any kind of impact on the lives of these people. This leads me into this week’s blog and the next instalment of the journey, as I went in pursuit of shoes.

For days after my first experience with the homeless I was agitated. I was trying to work out if and how I could do something. I was confronted by the alarming amount of homeless people and even more distressed by how they were treated by many people, and ashamed to admit even by me up until that moment. I would walk past homeless people, shift my eyes to pretend I didn’t see them, and then bury my head in the sand to the reality of so many lives. In other words, I was treating them as less than human. Yes, I am ashamed. All of a sudden, I knew the truth, and now I want to do something, but what?

My initial thought was to see if I could get a couple of them to talk with me on a podcast to tell their story, so we could create some awareness and hopefully some positive action. I was excited about my idea, and I rang Kate, who was also very positive about it. So, last Wednesday evening I again went into the city to help out, and to see if I could find a couple of people willing to talk to me. I had my podcast gear, but very quickly realised it was not going to be easy to get these people to share with me. There was a key ingredient missing. These people didn’t know me or trust me, and why would they? So, I aborted my plan to interview anyone and decided to connect with them instead.

I met a man named Justin, said hello and he started talking to me. It was very noisy in that room, with over 100 people talking, food being served, Christmas carols being sung, and so hearing Justin, who was very soft spoken, was difficult. I sat down next to him, pulled my chair closer, and leaned in so I could hear him. I still only got half of what he was telling me, but it was enough to be incredibly distressing, to say the least. The injuries he had incurred from being beaten, the inhumane way he and his mentally ill girlfriend had been treated by the authorities, and the miserable existence he was experiencing broke my heart. I simply asked him, what do you need? He looked at me, looked down at his ragged shoes and said, I just need some shoes that will keep out the wet.

From that moment, I was on a mission. I am the type of person who, when I get a bee-in-my-bonnet about something, I am one-eyed. So, I went to the clothes supply area to see if they had any shoes that would fit Justin. He was a size 11-12, but after a thorough search the largest size they had was 10.5, which just didn’t fit, no matter how hard he tried. I kicked myself because I knew I had a pair of shoes at home that would have fit him that I never wear anymore, but I just didn’t have time to go home and get them and bring them back. My mind was racing, what can I do?

Then I thought, I am in the city, there must be a place open I can go and buy shoes from. It was about 6pm on a Wednesday night, and time was limited, and now the rain was starting to fall. Out I went, and for the next 20-30 mins I looked everywhere, but could not find a store open. Then, as the rain was getting heavier, and I was getting drenched, I saw an Aldi. I was sure they would have shoes there, so I sprinted there to check it out. I searched high and low, I went up and down each isle multiple times, I asked one of the employees to check the back, but all to no avail. I had to head back with no shoes, and I was devastated. I really wanted to make a difference for this man, and I felt like I had failed.

When I got back, he was outside just about to leave to go to who-knows-where to spend the night. I was saturated and I apologised to him that I was unable to find him shoes. He was incredibly gracious, understanding, and actually just really grateful that someone would go to that effort for him. Then, I did something you should never do. I gave him some cash to buy some shoes. Did he? I don’t know, but I had to feel like I was making a difference for this man. He shook my hand, he said thank you, and went off to spend his night in the inclement Melbourne weather. I walked away with mixed emotions and a fresh perspective.

So, what’s the point? It is not about shoes, and it’s not about money. I was so busy trying to find the shoes, and then ease my own guilt that I had failed by giving him money, I missed the point until he walked away. Justin would have survived without the shoes and the money, all he wanted was someone to care enough about him to do something. It was the effort and intention that mattered, not the outcome. What a powerful lesson for me, and hopefully for you. When you feel like you are not getting the result you want for yourself or others, you just need to be proud of the effort. I have heard it so many times, but this experience really reinforced it, that people don’t care about how much you know, they just want to know that you care. It was being in pursuit of the shoes that Justin realised that I cared enough to go to that effort for him. For that I feel wonderful.

Just remember everyone is human, everyone has a story, and everyone needs to feel special. This was again reinforced to me in my podcast with Flic Manning, called All day wellbeing, as she spoke about her day-to-day struggle with chronic illness. In your pursuit of shoes this week, just know that it is the intention of the pursuit which means so much more than the outcome. When you make an effort for others, it will mean so much more than the material gain that may come as a result of that effort. Enjoy your pursuit today.

the courage to know

the courage to know

Have you ever heard the saying; you don’t know what you don’t know? When you are young, you think you know everything, right? As you grow up and experience life and its challenges, you start to realise, more and more, there are many things you don’t know. Do you understand what I am talking about? There are things you don’t know that you don’t know, but you actually do want to know them, and there are things you know you don’t know and you’re not sure if you ever want to know. I am positive I have totally confused you. Sometimes it takes courage to know what you don’t know.

I am going to try to decipher this mumbo-jumbo now with an experience I have just had. My good friend Kate is an amazing lady. She has a deep faith and strong belief in God and has been led to invest a large part of her already full life helping, feeding, and sharing hope with many homeless people in Melbourne’s CBD. Through the church we both attended, a premises was purpose developed with just this task in mind, but it has been Kate who has really brought it to life. So, now Kate leads a team of people who every Wednesday and Saturday evenings offer refuge, food, clothes, supplies, and prayer for the disturbing number of people who don’t have a roof over their heads, or, often, food on their tables.

Kate has been asking and encouraging me for around 12 months to come and see what she is doing and help out on one of the nights she and the team are there. She has been constantly telling me what they are doing, the stories of some of these people, and the difference they are making. I kept saying to Kate, ‘I would love to come, but I just can’t do it this week. I will definitely come, one day’. Do you know what ‘one day’ actually means? It means ‘no day’!  So, I kept telling Kate I would come, and I kept making excuses why I couldn’t. The reality was that I was terrified. I didn’t know what I was terrified of, I just was.

Finally, after Kate asked for the umpteenth time, I said I would come. I had run out of excuses! Suddenly, fear filled my body, and from the moment I had said I would come, I was hoping that Kate would ring and cancel. She didn’t, and so, last Saturday I drove into the city for this experience. Why was I so scared? I thought maybe because I wouldn’t know what to say to these people. I considered that I was worried that they would judge me. And ashamed as I am to admit it, there may have been a small fear that I could get hurt. However, after spending a few hours with these people, I discovered that the reason for my fear was totally different. The truth was that I was scared to know the reality of the situation.

Let me explain what I mean. As I mingled amongst, chatted to, served food to, arranged chairs and tables for these people, I felt incredible sadness and empathy. I saw people, real people who had fallen on hard times, and now didn’t even have a roof over their head or food on their table, the things most of us just take for granted. I saw and met people who, simply because they were going through a tough time in their lives were being treated more like animals than people by many, even, and again ashamed to admit it, by me up until that evening. I had been there only a short time and had done barely anything and people were coming to me and thanking me, with tears in their eyes, for helping them. It was a transformational few hours, for sure, and I left a changed man with a desire to do more to help these people.

As I drove home, it became clear to me that my fear was in knowing. I was scared that once I knew the reality of the situation, I could no longer stick my head in the sand and pretend it wasn’t happening. I was terrified because, If I knew the truth, what if I couldn’t do anything about it? I was petrified that I wasn’t strong enough, resilient enough, or capable enough to make a difference in the lives of these people. My fear was in knowing, and I realised on my drive home, that it took courage for me to step into that space and know the truth. This is why I have so much respect and admiration for my friend Kate.

Over the next few days, I thought about it, spoke to others about it, and am now committed to do what I can do to help. I have realised that I don’t need to be afraid, all I can do is all I can do, and that is enough. The fear of knowing is very real for all of us. Knowing that there may be a health issue is terrifying. Knowing the truth about a failing relationship is horrifying. Knowing the reality about finances may cause panic. The problem with not knowing is that nothing can or will change. When you have the courage to know, and you find out, then you can do what you can do to create change.

I love my conversation with Matt Caruana on this week’s podcast called, Trust and belief. When Matt faced the truth and really understood where he was at, he was able to start on the journey of doing what many believed was not possible. He severed his spinal cord, and despite being told he will never walk again, he is taking his first steps. It is a truly inspiring conversation, well worth a listen.

When you know, you can create change. That is a powerful concept. Let me say it again, when you know, you can create change. The thought of knowing is terrifying, but in fact, knowing is the most empowering thing you can do. Find the courage inside of you to get the knowledge you need to create positive change and enjoy where it leads you.

get full to overflowing

get full to overflowing

Every day I get up to start my morning rituals and, after doing my elimination business, I drink one litre of purified water. I also take some vitamins with that water. I put the class in the sink with the tap on and filling the glass as I go and get my herbal Rhodiola tablets. If I take too long, when I get back to my glass, not only is it full, but it’s overflowing. Now you may be underwhelmed by this observation, but what I want to encourage you to do this week, if living your best life is the goal, is to get full to overflowing.

I know you are wondering what I mean by this, so bear with me as I try to help you take this visual, of an overflowing glass, and apply it to your life. If I were to ask you what the vision of your best life looked like, amongst other things, you would probably talk to me about; a fit and healthy body, wonderful relationships, career success, a strong financial position, a fulfilling social life and having a positive impact on the lives of others. Would I be right? Would I also be right in saying that each of those things is outside of you?

What I mean is that a fit and health body is your external being, wonderful relationships are with people who are not you, career success relies on other people and situations, financial success depends on money in a bank, your social life requires other people, as does having a positive impact on others. That being the case, and I may come across as a little ethereal and woo woo here, my belief is that you can never – yes, I said never – create amazing external results in your life, if you don’t fill yourself up first. You can’t love another if you don’t love yourself. You can’t be healthy if you lack self-worth. You can’t create career success if you can first develop personal success. You will not make money if you don’t value yourself.

A strong social life depends on your ability to help people feel good around you, and if you don’t already feel that way about yourself, you can’t or won’t develop strong bonds. In terms of your impact on others, and please hear me on this, it’s not what you say that will most influence others, but the person you are and become that will have the greatest positive effect. So can you see that no joyful fulfillment, impact or success is possible if you don’t first fill your own glass, and then when it is full, get it to overflowing. It is this overflow that will give you the results in life you want.

I hope I am making sense here. When you fill your glass full to overflowing with love for yourself, then you will genuinely and unconditionally love and interact with others. When you fill your glass to overflowing with esteem for yourself, you will take the steps necessary to be optimally healthy. When you fill your glass to overflowing with knowledge, wisdom and truly believe in your value, you will excel in your career and money will start to abundantly flow into your bank account. When you fill your glass to overflowing with a strong internal desire to be the best you can be, you will most profoundly impact others. I hope I am making sense.

So, the question you may be asking is, how do I fill my own glass and get it full to overflowing? That my friend, is a wonderful question to ask, and I hope you are ready to act on the answer. The answer is simple, focus on building yourself from the inside out, every singly day. Build your self-belief by affirming statements that reflect who you want to become, reading great books, listening to empowering audios, and associating with people who support and encourage you. Build your value by thinking about and writing every day, what you love about yourself, what you are most grateful for and what your unique strengths really are. Build your confidence by taking action every day on communication, vulnerability, trying new things and getting uncomfortable.

Improve your wellbeing by visualising how you want to be, loving yourself for who you are, moving your body and taking steps to put the right stuff into your mind and body every day. In my podcast this week with Dr Stephen Petteruti, called ‘Youthful living to 120,’ we discuss exactly what you can do to live a life of joyful longevity.

When you start talking personal positive action to start filling your own glass with positive input, strong self-belief, high value, self-confidence, self-love and positive actions, just watch what happens when that glass starts to overflow. As you overflow with love, belief, confidence and positive expectancy, watch what happens to the people and around and the things you are aspiring to in life. It is my greatest desire, as you come to the end of this blog, that as soon as you have finished reading you will start on the journey of getting full to overflowing.