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.
What is it you will fight for? What is it I will fight for? I have been reflecting this week on what is the difference between the people who achieve an incredible level of health, happiness, abundance and success, and those who don’t. I have said it many times before, is definitely not talent, intellect, age, experience, money, luck or circumstances, as many people think it is. Okay then, what is it? It is what we are prepared to fight for. In the words of Russell Crowe, playing the boxer James J. Braddock, in the movie ‘Cinderella Man,’ it is milk!
This movie is my all-time favourite movie, and after a great night out with two inspiring friends this week, the movie came up in conversation, and we started talking about a specific scene, which I love. If you haven’t seen the movie, I would absolutely encourage you to watch it, but as some context, I will give you a little background to the scene in question. The movie is based on a true story of the life, the struggles and ultimately the unlikely and inspiring success of boxer James J. Braddock. The movie is set in New York and New Jersey in the 1920’s and 1930’s, right at the time of the Great Depression.
Before the depression, James (Jim) Braddock, was an up-and-coming boxing hopeful, who had never been knocked out. His wins were mounting, his status was growing and his prospects for becoming the heavyweight champion of the world were improving. Then the Great Depression hit. He suffered injuries, he lost a lot of money and he, his wife and his three children found themselves living in a hovel, barely scraping enough money together to survive. After an embarrassing fight, where he re-broke his hand and the fight was called due to the crowd unrest, Jim’s license was revoked by the boxing commission. In other words, he couldn’t fight professionally anymore.
From that point, things really spiralled. Jim and his wife Mae couldn’t pay the rent and couldn’t even pay for milk. In fact, it got so bad that Mae had to farm the kids out to extended family because they couldn’t keep them healthy. Jim ended up working on the docks, borrowing money from friends and even lining up for financial support from the government, all to get the kids back. Then, out of the blue, an opportunity to fight in a one-off professional bout came up and Jim jumped at it. He was old, injured and a rank outsider, but somehow, he miraculously won the fight. This started a run of wins that led to a fight that would make him the number one contender for the heavyweight championship.
It was a tough fight, and he was getting beaten badly. At one stage, a powerful punch to his face, knocked his mouthguard out and sent him reeling. As he stumbled to get his mouthguard, with blood dripping from his face, he reflected on the things he had experienced over the past few painful years; the lack of money, the sick children, the empty beds after they had been farmed out and the empty milk bottle with the note ‘past due’ on it. He picked up his mouthguard, put it back into his mouth, looked at his opponent and smiled, with a smile that said, ‘I am here, and you are going down.’ Jim went on to win the bout and set himself up for a shot at the world title.
I know this is a long-winded story, but it’s worth it, trust me! At the press conference before the title fight, one of the reporters asked Jim a question that was on many people’s minds. He asked, ‘Hey Jim, how do you explain your comeback? You couldn’t win a fight for love-or-money. How did you turn it around to be here?’ Jim replied, ‘Well, I had a run of bad luck, I was injured and was fortunately able to overcome my injury and get back into some form. And now, most importantly, I know what I am fighting for.’ The reporter asked, ‘Yeah, what’s that Jim?’ Jim looked at him, looked at his wife and said, ‘Milk!’
My question to you, as you read this, is, do you understand the significance of that statement? Jim went on to defy overwhelming odds to win the heavyweight championship of the world. Why? Because he knew what we was truly fighting for. It wasn’t fame, it wasn’t money and it wasn’t a nice house or car. He was fighting for his family and being able to give them milk, provide them with food, and keep them healthy and safe. This, my friends, is the secret to achieving anything you want. You need to know, deep in your heart what you are fighting for.
What are you aspiring to at the moment? What are you working towards? What are you struggling with? I know for me, when the goal was superficial, I struggled. When I worked for money and status only, I couldn’t gain momentum. When I trained my body for validation and recognition, I found it difficult. When I was not clear on what I was fighting for, I found it hard to stay focused, avoid distraction and persist when things became challenging. When I identified what I was really fighting for, the rest just seemed to fall into place. The worked wasn’t a chore, the mistakes became lessons, and the challenges became opportunities.
In this week’s podcast, ‘You get what you expect,’ with Carol Cooke, you will hear the incredible story of a fighter who overcame 42 years, four sports and the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis to finally fulfill a dream she was fighting for. She was a 9 year old with the dream of being an Olympian for Canada and it was finally fulfilled at 51 years of age when she was selected in the 2012 Para-Olympics to represent Australia. She has gone on to win three gold medals in 2012 and 2016 and is on the verge of her fourth gold medal in the 2021 Tokyo Games. At the age of 60, the dream is still alive and the fight still inside her.
My question for you is, what is your milk? What will move you to defy the odds and do what you have been unable to do to this moment? Success, in any area, is not as complicated or difficult as most people make it out to be. It will take focus, it will take effort and it will require perspective and resilience, but it will not be a chore or a hardship if you know what your milk is. So please, spend some time reflecting, thinking and asking yourself the right questions, and then, start fighting for your milk!
It’s been a reflective week. My mother, who passed away in 2004, would have celebrated her 86th birthday this week just gone by. As I reflected on the journey she went on, the devastation of losing her when she was just 69, and now the impact that together she and I are having on many, many lives, I can see how very different things can be, when we dig below the surface.
I have the day that my mother died firmly entrenched in my mind and my heart. That day was the most heart-breaking and traumatic day of my life. Yet upon reflection, and under the surface of the tragedy, there were so many blessings that have sprouted since. I will share this in a shortened version, the full account can be found in the book I wrote about my amazing mother, called Dance Until it Rains.
On this particular day in December 2004, my mother had been on a fifteen plus year journey with cancer and beaten just about every medical odd to have survived and thrived for so long. I had planned a weekend away, but was on the verge of cancelling it and staying by her side. However, on the encouragement of my dad and her doctor that she was stable, I decided to go. Well, it didn’t last long because at 5pm on that Friday I got a call from my dad saying that she had taken a turn for the worse and I should get back to Melbourne. Panic set in!
I was in Sydney. I rushed to the airport, I bought a ticket and waited for my flight, which after a lengthy delay was cancelled. I was frantic and clearly desperate as flight crew managed to get me on the next flight home. As I sat on that flight, in mid-air, I got this immediate and painful sinking feeling in my gut, and I just knew I had missed her. I knew she was gone. As the plane landed, I turned on my phone and a message from my father confirmed my worst fears, that she had died whilst I was in the air.
It’s hard to describe how I was feeling at that time. Numb initially, then anger with myself for going away, and then finally desperation to get to the hospital to be with my family and see her for the last time. I decided to save time by going and getting my car first and then coming back to get my luggage off the carousel. The plan was going perfectly until I came out, after getting my luggage, to find I was being written an infringement, by a humourless parking officer, for stopping in a bus zone. I pleaded with him, and he ignored me, so, I said, ‘Do what you have to do, I’m out of here.’ I drove off leaving a stunned parking officer, with a half-written parking infringement in my wake.
When I finally got to the hospital, it was around midnight and heading into Saturday morning. I sat with my mother for about an hour, holding her hand, sobbing and telling her how much I love her and how sorry I was for not being with her. I am not ashamed to tell you, I was devastated and traumatised by this event for many months, even years. In fact, it wasn’t until I was writing Dance Until it Rains, that I allowed myself to see the treasure that was buried beneath the surface of that tragedy.
The first insight I got, as I was writing and healing, was that maybe my being away when she passed was actually a blessing. I think she held on longer than she would’ve liked, because she didn’t want me, or us, to be in pain, and I believe my being away allowed her to give herself permission to go. I had to dig below the surface to see and feel that. The second amazing blessing, since her passing, is the loving and joyful relationship I have been able to develop with my father. Then, the greatest treasure I found below the surface was discovered after Dance Until it Rains was published in 2011. Since that time, my beautiful mother and I have been together every single day as we share the message of hope, courage, love and purpose. She has left an impressive legacy and I am grateful that I get the opportunity to help her take it to the world. Since she has passed, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how many lives have been touched by her life, her story and her inspiration. Wow, what a privilege. For a long time, it certainly didn’t seem like any positives would come from her passing, and it wasn’t until I started digging below the surface that the magic appeared.
In my podcast this week, called ‘The hidden benefits,’ with Natalie Matthews, we discuss the wonderful opportunities that come hidden in every challenge, problem or adversity, if you just dig a little. Natalie has struggled with separation from her family in the UK due to COVID and talks openly about her struggles, and about the wonderful benefits that she has discovered as a result. It is my greatest desire that from reading this blog and listening to the podcast, you will also dig to find the hidden benefits that lie just below the surface of every single challenge, problem or adversity.
No matter what you are currently facing in your life, I want to encourage you scratch below the surface. Underneath your relationship issues you will find opportunities to create wonderful connections. Below your financial woes you will discover lessons to help you create stability. Beneath your health challenges, there is wisdom, inspiration and advantages that will help you regain your health and then claim optimal wellbeing. The answers and opportunities are there for you, just under the surface, and all you have to do is start digging. You will be amazed, delighted and excited by what you find when you dig below the surface.
There are a few certainties in life and one of them is that undesirable things will happen. Or are they undesirable? Hmmm, interesting question! Depending on where you live in the world, you are currently experiencing some level of COVID, which was supposed to be gone by 2021, wasn’t it? You may have experienced loss of a job, a relationship, a level of your health or something else that was important to you? That adversity you experienced or are currently experiencing can be an absolute gift if you choose it to be. So, my message this week is, don’t waste that adversity.
I consider myself an extremely blessed person. I grew up in a loving home and had every opportunity to develop myself and create success in my life. I was able to play professional football, become an author and now am incredibly grateful that I have found and am living my purpose. Sure, I have had some challenges throughout my life, but who hasn’t? What I have learned is that those challenges do not define me, but with the proper perspective, it’s my attitude towards them and the actions I take as a result of them which is what defines me.
I am continually inspired by people who have experienced far worse adversity in their lives than I have, yet have not wasted it. Instead, they have used it as a platform to find their purpose, create opportunities and help many people. In my podcast this week called, ‘2020 – The foundation of transformation’ I talk to two of these people. Stacey Copas, who at the age of 12 dived into a shallow pool, broke her neck, drowned and became a quadriplegic. I think you would consider that adversity! She is now an inspirational author, speaker and coach and is using the gift of her trauma as a platform to help many people. Deborah Stathis, at the age of 19 was involved in a devastating car accident which caused life altering spinal, facial and acquired brain injuries. She was told she would never function normally again, but if you interact with her today, you would never know that her face and brain had been ‘smashed in.’ She not only defied overwhelming odds against her, she has used the gift of her accident and trauma to become a globally acclaimed author, speaker coach who is impacting many lives.
Stacy and Deb experienced adversity far greater than most of us ever will, yet have not wasted it. You and I deal with adversity on a daily basis, at some level or another. It may be as simple as your shoelace breaking, getting a flat tyre or running out of milk, or it may be more significant like a health, relationship or financial crisis. The point is, whatever the adversity, don’t waste it. Author and entrepreneur, Robert Kiyosaki says, ‘Within every problem, lies an opportunity.’ The opportunity may be a lesson we need to learn. It may be a platform to grow and expand from. It may be a test to prove to you that you have what it takes to be the person you want to become. It is always an opportunity for you to believe in your inner strength.
I have experienced this to be true in my own life. Getting sacked as a professional footballer opened the door for me to explore a wellness industry career. Owning a failed café and losing close to $100,000 was the lesson and the moment I needed to decide to write my first book. Losing my mother to cancer, as devastating as an event as it was, moved me to write a book about her and use her life, courage and lessons to inspire people all around the world. So, I hope you can see, every adversity is a gift which, when unwrapped, will offer an incredible blessing in your life, and the life of others. The key is, you need to be looking for the opportunity, platform, lesson or test or you will waste this wonderful adversity that has been presented to you and will continue to be presented to you each and every day.
If you can reflect back on 2020 and see all the things that you may have considered as undesirable, can you see the opportunity, platform, lesson or test that came from them? If not, look harder or you will waste them. And, as 2021 unfolds, just know, without taking this as a negative statement, there will be things occur that may seem to be undesirable, BUT they will be wonderful blessings if you will stop, look, learn, explore, question and discover the opportunity, lesson or test that is there just for you. As you move forward from today, please don’t waste wonderful adversity.
When we think of courage we may go to the movies and think of people like Indiana Jones, Wonder Woman or James Bond. Maybe courage for you is displayed by sporting heroes, business leaders, celebrities or other well-known people. I think we would all agree that people like Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela and Fred Hollow all have amazing courage. I know for me, courage is displayed by many normal people, as they work to overcome undesirable circumstances. Courage is even displayed by people willing to do things that are not easy or comfortable for them. So, the question is; where does courage come from, and, how do we get it?
The greatest misconception about people who display courage is that they are ‘fearless.’ In my opinion, there is no such thing. No-one is truly fearless, however, some people have learned to manage their fear and not let it stop them taking action anyway. The best definition of courage I have heard is from Franklin D Roosevelt, who said; “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” For me, this is the essence of courage, taking action even though the fear is present. So, again, the question is, how do we attain courage?
Firstly, I need to tell you that you have the most amazing potential and incredible capacity for achievement. You are capable of doing and achieving anything you choose, if you are willing to take action. I have absolute belief in you and know that you are definitely good enough. So, whatever you want in your life, go for you, you can do it.
Do you know what I just did in that last paragraph? I encouraged you. Let’s have a look at the word ‘encourage’ for a moment. En-Courage means; to put courage in. What I have tried to do is put courage in you, which I hope helps to make you feel a little stronger and more capable. Think about how you feel when someone tells you, ‘you can do it. I believe in you. Go for it, you are good enough.’ It feels great doesn’t it? And, for a moment, it puts courage in you to help you get started on a fearful or challenging journey. In fact, in an experiment was done on people standing in freezing cold water, it was found that those who had someone there to encourage them, were able to tolerate the discomfort for twice as long.
What happens, however, if you don’t have anyone there to encourage you? What if, in fact, you have people discouraging you and telling you, ‘you can’t do it and you are not good enough’? What then? In this week’s podcast, ‘Choose happiness,’ I speak with the inspiring Amanda Webster. Two years ago, Amanda found herself all alone on the window ledge of an out-of-town hotel room, planning to end her life. Thankfully, she is alive today to tell the story. The question is; who brought her down off that ledge and moved her to make the changes in her life that now allow her to help and encourage so many other people? That person was herself! She put courage in herself.
It is great to have other people encourage you, but if you are relying on other people, then you are going to struggle to find the ongoing courage you need to get whatever job you need to get done, done! Rely on yourself! Be the one who puts courage into yourself. Start telling yourself that; you can, you will, you can improve, and you will do what it takes. Tell yourself that you have the god-given potential to overcome, create or achieve whatever you want. Start remembering the things that you have already achieved in your life and start believing that anything is possible for as you move forward after reading this blog.
I will continue to encourage you as much as I can with my books, my blogs, my podcasts and if we ever get the chance to speak, but please don’t rely on me or anyone other than you. On a daily basis, put the courage in yourself with empowering and uplifting words. Tell yourself you can and you will, and with every encouraging, empowering and uplifting word you use, you will put the courage in to go on and live your best life.
I think, to some extent, everyone’s confidence has taken a little bit of a hit over the course of 2020. There’s a little more fear, uncertainty and conservative behaviour creeping into to everyone’s lives at some level, and even though I talk a good game, that counts for me also. Whilst a little nervous, I had my first real adventure this week since COVID has kicked in, and it was such an awesome experience that I want to encourage you to embrace any and all opportunities for adventure.
I had a school session booked in for last Friday. It had been booked in for several months, and because of current circumstances, I had assumed it would be an online session for this group of year 9 students. Well, about a week before the session, I got an email from the guy who was co-ordinating the session to say they had justified my visit as ‘being essential,’ and so I would be going to the school. Interestingly, my first reaction to that was not excitement that I would be getting out to go to a school, it was actually a little anxiety.
I was anxious for several reasons. The first being that the school is in Geelong, a rural town about 90 mins to two hours from where I live, and I don’t have a driver’s license, so I didn’t know how I would get there. The second reason was one I had fought hard for 8 months and was fear about getting out in public again, even though I knew there was nothing to worry about, the bad news and fear that had gripped the world had infiltrated my defenses. Finally, because I had been at home delivering online sessions for so long, and it had really become my new normal, I was concerned I would not click back into the face to face session as easily.
However, despite my concerns, I decided to embrace this adventure, get out there and make it an amazing experience. The main challenge was getting there, so I decided to catch a train into the city and another out to Geelong. Then I had a friend who wanted to observe the session, who would pick me up from the station, we would go to the school together, afterwards go out for lunch and then she would drop me back off at the station. Sounded like a great plan until the school came back and said that they could not approve her visit, as it was against the ‘COVID’ rules. So, I had to get myself to the school, and then she would pick me up afterwards.
At this point, however, I was committed to and actually getting excited about this adventure. My amazing father, always concerned about me, actually offered to pay for an Uber from my place to the school 90-minutes away, a $150 fare! As much as I appreciated the offer, and told him so, I explained how I was committed to and excited about the adventure of finding my own way there. I think he thought I was a little looney, even though he has got used to that over the years. So, Friday came along and off I went. I caught and Uber to the station, a train into the city, a train to Geelong, got a taxi to the school, but because of roadworks and lots of confusion, I ended up walking about 1km on a dirt road, jumped a locked gate and finally got to the school. Quite an adventure already!
I then delivered this session and, oh my gosh, it was so amazing to be back in a room with real people. I could see their faces, feel their energy, respond to their questions, interact with them and I really feel like I made a difference in their lives. It reinforced to me my mission and purpose in life and it excited me even more to get out, travel, have more adventures and impact more lives, all around the world. I left feeling so incredibly inspired and energised.
My friend picked me up from the school, after her own challenges finding it, and we went off to have lunch at the café she had booked. The adventure continued as, after we were asked for ID at the café, they told me that I could not eat there because I was from Melbourne, the naughty corner of Australia and the world! I wasn’t allowed to eat in any café or restaurant because of the COVID restrictions place on all Melburnian residents! So, we went and bought some take away and sat on the grass overlooking the beach and had a very enjoyable lunch and conversation. Not what we had planned, but an exciting adventure, nevertheless! My friend dropped me back at the station and I got home without any further detours and, as I thought about and reflected on the day and adventure I had just had, I smiled!
I am so glad I did it. I was a little hesitant at first, but so grateful that I chose to take it on. I know life is still a little uncertain at the moment, but don’t let COVID or fear dampen your adventurous spirit. There is an amazing world of opportunity, joy, achievement, significance and purpose just waiting for you. In my podcast with Kim Vandenberg, called, ‘Stay in your own lane,’ she talks about her wonderful adventure of getting to the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a swimmer. She totally embraced adventure in her life, and it has led to some incredible outcomes and opportunities. So, why not you? Get out, while you can, and make the most of every second of the wondrous possibilities and excitement that life offers each and every one of us if we are willing to embrace adventure.