It is my mission to help people believe more in themselves. It is my passion to encourage people to do more, be more and have more in their lives. It is my vision to inspire people live the very best life they can live for as long as possible. It is my purpose to empower people to take more action, make more mistakes, yet create more success. That being case, it is my hope, after reading this blog and when the next opportunity arises to do something you are not sure you can do, you will respond with, ‘why not?’
I was recently listening to a podcast with the title ‘Why Not?’ The speaker, a very successful businessman, was talking about two very different experiences he had whilst travelling internationally. The first was when he arrived in Germany for a stopover on his way to Greece. He got off the plan after a long flight, wanting a coffee before he got on his next flight. Keep in mind, he was flying first class, and as he went to the airlines private lounge for a quick coffee, he was stopped at the desk by a gruff airline employee. She looked at his ticket, and said, “You can’t come in on this ticket.” I can’t remember the reason why, but this gentleman tried to reason with her and ask her if it would be okay, since he was flying first class with their airline, to just go in for 5 mins and get a quick coffee. She looked at him with a stern expression on her face and said, “No!”
She was just doing her job, but it did seem a little inflexible and unreasonable to the traveller. Anyway, he finally got a coffee in the busy food hall and then got on his next flight to Greece. When he finally arrived at his boutique hotel, right on the Aegean Sea, he had his second and very different experience. He was starving, tired and just wanted something to eat. It was, however 3pm, a time when everything in Europe shuts down, so he wasn’t optimistic about his chances. He decided to take a chance and ask the concierge if there was a chance to eat. He was told by a very friendly man that the kitchen was closed, but he would ask the manager. The manager came over, and again, the weary traveller asked, if it would be possible to get something to eat. The manager, looking very thoughtful for a moment, replied, “Why not?”
The manager arranged for food and the traveller ate a delicious meal. He then thought he would test this manager again and he asked if there were any chance of getting a massage. The manager smiled and, even though the masseur had gone home, said, “Why not?” After a beautiful massage, shower and rest it was evening time. The traveller was sitting looking out over the water and enjoying a pre-dinner drink, when he noticed something unusual on the beach below. There was a lone table set up, with candles and dining, for two people, and a piano on the beach right next to it. He called for the manager and asked him what was going on. The manager explained that a couple were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and asked if there was something special the hotel could do for them. The manager had said, “Why not?” Then proceeded to carry chairs, tables, crockery, cutlery, glassware and even a grand piano down to the beach to make the couple’s experience a beautiful and memorable one.
That’s the power of ‘why not?’ You see, when you open your mind to possibilities, anything can be found, solved, created or achieved. I truly believe this. When I aspired to be a professional footballer, logic would have suggested that I was too young, too skinny and not talented enough. Whilst I don’t know if I actually believed I could make it happen, I didn’t know that I couldn’t and with a ‘why not?’ attitude, I got into action and made it happen. When I decided to write my first book, all the odds were against me and, again, it was hard to believe I could do it, but I couldn’t come up with strong evidence to prove that I couldn’t. Let me tell you, ‘why not?’ in that situation totally transformed my life, as I am now about to get my eighth book published. I am living my purpose today as a result of that ‘why not?’ almost 20 years ago.
Seriously, why can’t you write your book, regain your health, look amazing, forgive yourself, love yourself, create wealth, have beautiful relationships, make a difference and live the very best life you can possibly live? You can! The only reason you won’t is because of what you tell yourself. In my podacst this week with John Di Natale, called ‘Find your voice,’ we discuss the power of the words you use in helping you live your best life. So, from today and as you move forward in the one and only life you have, it is my greatest desire to empower and inspire you, as opportunities come your way, to ask, ‘why not?’ and then go on and make them happen. Trust me, you are good enough and you are on this planet to leave your mark. So, go forth and ‘why not?’ all over the place!
Why is it we spend so much of our life worrying about what others thinks of us? Why do we care whether others approve of us, think what we are doing is a good idea or not, or agree with our opinions? I ask myself that question on a daily basis. Why do I care so much? I mean, people only look from their perspective. They don’t know what’s inside of me and driving me to do the things I do. I know why I am doing them and that’s all that counts. I have realised that it doesn’t matter how it looks to anyone else, it only matters how it looks to me.
If you are a Rocky fan and have watched all of the movies, you will have watched the sixth movie, Rocky Balboa. In this movie, Rocky is well past his prime, has retired, owns a restaurant and has an adult son. He still, however, feels like he has some unfinished business as a boxer and, when an opportunity to fight in an exhibition bout with the World Heavy Weight champion comes up, he accepts it. Most of the world thinks he is crazy, the media have a field day, his son thinks he is crazy, and he starts to doubt whether it’s a good idea or not.
In a conversation with his friend Marie, he shares his concerns and fears of what others will think if he decides to go ahead with the fight. Marie listens intently, and after a short pause and a little preamble said; “You’ve got this opportunity, so do it! Why not? I mean, this is who you are, and this is who you’ll always be, and you don’t move aside for nobody until you’re ready to move. It doesn’t matter how this looks to other people, all that matters is how it looks to you. (Long pause) Rocky… Rocky… look at me (Rocky looks up at her). How it looks to you! And, if this is something that you wanna do, and if this is something you gotta do, then you do it. Fighter’s fight!”
I get chills up and down my spine watching this part of the movie, and even just thinking about that statement; all that matters is how it looks to you! I am definitely no Rocky, that’s for sure, but the other morning, I was taking Joia for her early morning walk. My morning routine is a little weird. When I get back from my training, I plug in my earphones and listen to worship music as I jog around the block with Joia. Now that may not sound weird to you, but I am jogging on the spot while she is pooping, peeing and sniffing, in an attempt to add to my step count for the day. In addition to that, I sing with the worship songs, out aloud, often with my arms raised to the sky. Yep, that’s weird.
The other morning, I was out doing my thing, when I saw a man, who I have seen before, doing his thing, and something seemingly just as weird. He was walking up the hill, in the middle of the road, and he was walking backwards. So, just as I turned the corner jogging on the spot and singing worship songs out aloud, he was walking backwards up the hill in the middle of the road. I had to smile. I mean, I could just imagine how it must look to other people. What would people think of us? I even thought what he was doing was weird, and I’m sure he thought the same about me. However, do you know what? It doesn’t matter how it looks to others, it only matters and how it looks to me, and how what he was doing looked to him. We both knew why we were doing what we were doing, so nothing or no-one else mattered.
This is powerful! I know that because it is an affliction we humans have, all of us. Can I please share two things? One, people are not thinking about you, or me, they are thinking about only one person… themselves! Two, what they think about you is none of your business! The only thing that matters now and the only thing that ever matters is what you think about yourself. It’s totally irrelevant how things look to other people, it only matters how it looks to you!
I did worry about how it would look to others when I was a skinny, talent-deficient teenager trying to make it at the top level of Australian football. Just not enough for it to stop me, because how it looked to me was more important. I was concerned about what people would think about my writing and my ideas when I decided to write my first book. Thankfully, what I thought about becoming an author was more important, so I did it. Are you worried about how you look to others in your aspiration to; achieve better wellbeing, find a new relationship, restore a broken one, build a business, write a book, change career or any other area of your life? If so, why? Why isn’t what is important to you enough? It should be. Why don’t you trust yourself? You can. Why don’t you naively believe that you are good enough? Because, you are.
In my podcast called, ‘Give naivety a try,’ with Pietro Girgenti, ex-lawyer now founder of the fitness app Fitii, we talk about the amazing strength that lies in just naively believing that you are good enough. As you move forward, hopefully inspired, after reading this blog, please take the wise advice of Rocky’s friend Marie, who said; ‘It doesn’t matter how it looks to other people, all that matters is how it looks to you.’
This week’s blog is a passionate plea. It’s a plea to you to know how important you are and how much your opinion and needs matter. It’s also a plea for you to open your heart and mind to encourage and allow others to speak their truth and use their voice. I have presented in two schools over the last week, and the thing that has impacted me the most, as I drove away after each session, is the lack of self-belief, self-confidence and self-value of many teenagers. This needs to change.
In a recent social media post, I wrote;
It is our responsibility to empower, encourage and instill belief and confidence in the wonderful teens of the world.
As I stood there talking to these incredible young people at a Melbourne based Secondary College yesterday, I was struck with the realisation that many of them lack belief in themselves and the confidence to trust their voice.
It is my greatest desire; to fill them with self-belief, to help them understand the power, capacity and potential they all have and to empower them to take immediate and even illogical action!
If you have a teenager, know a teenager, or were a teenager… Please act now. This incredible generation of people needs our help.
EMPOWER & ENCOURAGE A TEENAGER TODAY!
I wrote this post after speaking at one school to about 150 year 8 students. I try to keep my presentations fun, engaging and interactive. I love empowering teenagers, I love asking questions and getting responses, I love encouraging dreams and aspirations and I love it when I see the penny-drop, but I am finding this increasingly difficult. In this particular room, there were two boys who were the only ones with the confidence (or interest) to ask questions and to share ideas. There was the occasional contribution from a few other boys, and absolutely no sharing from any of the girls. This concerned me.
I am not a parent, and so I can’t even begin to relate to the challenges of raising healthy and well-balanced children, but I was a teenager and so I do understand the impact of parents, teachers, peers and the media. I am concerned about the unrealistic images and messages that are portrayed about being happy and successful in life. Somewhere in our younger years we are losing our voice and believing that we are not important and that no-one wants to hear our opinions. This is not just an affliction of teenagers, it is true for many adults. Maybe even you.
I would just ask you to reflect back when you were a baby. At that time in your life, were you worried about what others thought about you? Did you stay quiet when you wanted something? Did you give up crying when you didn’t get attention straight away? Did you care how loud you cried or how long you cried for? Were you embarrassed about pooing your nappy? Did you beat yourself up after falling time and time again whilst trying to walk for the first time? Did you worry about keeping people in the house, or the neighbours, awake? I think you know the answer to all of those questions. You were confident, bold, loud and determined. If you wanted something you cried at any time of the day and night until you got it. You kept getting up after each fall and you didn’t stop until you were walking. So, my friend, what happened to your confidence, your belief and your voice?
I say this often, and I will say it again. You are extra-ordinary, in fact every person is extra-ordinary. You are miraculous and on this planet for a reason. God made no junk. You are worthy, you are valuable, you are important and your voice counts. What do you want to say? What would you like to change? Who do you want to listen and hear you? Can I suggest you behave like a baby, and keep saying it, until you are heard? Cry if you have to! Why? Because your voice matters, and your ideas will impact lives.
I was talking to a group a teenagers a few months ago about their valuable voice. I asked them, what they would like to say to teachers, parents and community members, if they believed they would be heard. One girl raised her hand and said, she wished there was more awareness and education about disability. She talked about how many disabled people get treated poorly, because of lack of understanding. She passionately spoke about how this type of knowledge would make a difference for both the able-bodied and the disabled in our community. Wow!! This was a 16-year-old girl. Everyone has a powerful and valuable voice that will change lives.
Yes, that means you! Your voice counts, your opinion matters, and your ideas are valuable. So, can I encourage you to use your voice this week? Can I also ask that you to encourage others to do the same, and, when they do, welcome their ideas and opinions, even if they don’t agree with your own? This world is full of people, who are alive for a reason, and have a voice and a legacy to leave. I am a living example of someone, who is not always confident, not always secure in my value and often fearful of voicing my thoughts. Yet, I do know I have stuff to say, and I am going to say it, because I deeply believe, in my heart, that my voice counts, my opinions matter and my ideas will change lives. That is why I do what I do.
Often, it’s the voice in our head that stops us from voicing our thoughts. In my podcast this week, called ‘Get rid of the crap,’ with Tania Kolar, we discuss how to turn your self-talk into your powerful voice. I hope after reading this, you will open your mouth and share an idea that will help someone, confront an issue that will change something or tell someone how important they are and how much you love them. Just know, as you get on with your day today, that your voice counts.
I love being a human. As much as I love animals, and many inanimate objects, I am glad I am able to type, talk, think, choose, change and create. The one thing about being human that challenges me is my tendency to want things to be easy and comfortable. My observation is that this is a pretty natural human desire, even though the reality is that things are always hard before or after they are easy and comfortable. Yes, things are hard before they are easy or they are hard after they are easy, so, you get to choose your hard.
Let me share two personal scenarios with you to illustrate what I am talking about. One you know, because I am proud to talk about it and do so often, the other is not one I am not all that excited about making public knowledge, but will do so to share this powerful message. ‘Okay Andrew, just suck it up and do it!’ That’s just me talking to myself now and trying to motivate myself! Talking openly and sharing my feelings has always been hard for me, and particularly in situations where conflict could possibly result. So, for a long time I avoided talking and sharing to elude potential judgment and dispute. I always joked, as a footballer, I would win my fights by 50 metres! Yes, run rather than face it.
It was always easier for me, in the uncomfortable moment, to bite my tongue, pretend everything was okay and then go and distract myself with something I enjoyed. Well, that was easy before it got very hard. Yes, three failed marriages are very, very hard! Had I opened myself up, spoke up, shared what was on my heart, dealt with the issues at hand, communicated, negotiated and solved the underlying challenges, it would have been hard in that moment, but made things much easier in the long-term. Can you possibly relate to what I am saying now? So, whilst it easy first, it was way harder later.
I have spoken about my journey to become an author many times, and I will continue to do so because I am proud of it and there is a powerful lesson here. In the moment I decided to write a book it was hard. I was working in two businesses, one that was failing. I was working seven days and over 100 hours per week. I knew nothing about book writing and had no time, no skills, no qualifications and no experience. I think is fair to say, it was hard. If it was so hard, and so illogical, why did I do it? I had a vision and a gut feeling that if I did, then afterwards it would make my life easier and more enjoyable. I can tell you now, 17 years after my first book was published, with my eighth on the way, I don’t have to work seven days and over 100 hours per week, and I love everything that I do. Yes, it was hard before it much easier.
Enough about me. Here we are, back to you and the choices you have. You get to choose your hard. You get to choose whether you do ‘easy’ first and then deal with ‘the hard’ that will always come afterwards or go ‘the hard’ first and then enjoy ‘the easy’ that will come later. You can sit on the couch, eat anything you like now, because it’s easier, and then deal with ‘the hard’ of trying to restore poor health later, or you get off the couch now and do ‘the hard’ to enjoy the ease of optimal wellbeing later. I can tell which I would prefer and do, every day. You can choose to do ‘the easy’ spending now and deal with ‘the hard’ of financial stress later, or you do the hard yards now to work, save now to enjoy the ease of financial strength later. You can learn from my misjudgment and do the hard work to build trust, vulnerability and communication in your relationships now to enjoy the ease of great relationships later or make the same mistake I made too many times.
The point I am trying to share in this blog is that there will always be ‘hard,’ it is unavoidable. The question is, when will you choose to experience that ‘hard’? If you choose ‘the hard’ later, in my experience and observation, it will be harder and maybe even impossible. If you choose ‘hard’ now, while you still have a choice, then ‘the easy’ that will come is your wonderful reward and will bring incredible joy into your life. If you are inspired to reset your wellbeing and look for ‘the hard’ first, then my podcast called, ‘Reset today,’ with Miranda Mae will help. Whatever you are dealing with or aspiring to right now, know that ‘hardness’ is a part of the adventure. In my experience, choosing ‘hard’ first is the best option, so, with your best life in mind, get good at choosing your hard!
I can’t believe how much time and money I have wasted in my life trying to fast-track the process and re-invent the wheel. My ego was too inflated to follow someone else’s strategy, even if it was working, as I thought I could do it better, with no idea what I was doing. I was failing in a spectacular way in many areas of life, and then I got asked the question by someone trying to help me succeed, ‘why not fail our way first?’
When, after two years of starting a café, you are in close to $100,000 debt, it’s a sign that you should have taken advice from someone who has run or is running a successful hospitality business and then taken the time to do it right. Not me. I thought I knew everything, and I knew I could make it work, yet it failed spectacularly! I have had to experience three failed marriages, and hurting people I care about, thinking I knew how to be a good husband. I didn’t think I needed to take advice from people who really knew nor take the time to build strong relationships, and so I suffered and caused suffering for others. There are many other examples I could give you, of my ego looking for an easier option and leading me to a spectacular mess, but I don’t want to lose all of my credibility. LOL!!
I did finally learn, which is good news. What I learned was that, no matter what I wanted in my life, there was a predictable path to success which had already been forged by someone else. All I had to do was be willing to listen, learn and follow that path. Incredibly, but not surprisingly, when I did start following that path, success also started to predictably happen in my life. So, what I am saying here is this, if you are sick of random results, frequent frustration and spectacular failure, then simply… fail our way first!
What that means is, try following a predictable process first. Then, at least if you fail, you know why. Do you want me to tell you? You may not like the answer! If you follow a predictable plan and don’t create the success you want, you stopped short of that destination. In other words, you quit! Yikes, I told you, you may not like the answer. I certainly didn’t when it was suggested to me. It was almost tempting to go back to my crazy plan, because then I could blame something else, saying that I tried but the process didn’t work. But then I realised, I actually wanted success, so neither excuses nor quitting was ever going to get me there.
You see, most of us don’t like the predictable path, because it takes too long, and it causes us to have to face fears and insecurities that we really don’t want to face. Hence, we look for a quick-fix or a shortcut. I love the saying by John Maxwell; the longest distance between two points is a shortcut. In my podcast this week with Ossie Khan, called ‘Hitting the drop-zone,’ Ossie discusses the secret to successfully hit the drop-zone as a skydiver, but also in life. He explains the need to slow down, prepare properly and follow the process to a tee, and when you do, hitting the drop-zone successfully is predictable.
As you are moving towards hitting your own drop-zone in life, in other words, creating success, how is it going? Are you getting wonderful success and moving boldly in the direction you want to go, or are you getting frustrated, discouraged and wasting time and money spinning your wheels? If it’s the latter, maybe, just maybe, you are trying to find a shortcut to success, and not following a predictable plan, because it seems to take too long and be too hard. I can tell you with confidence that a quick-fix diet will never give you optimal wellbeing that lasts. Be assured that gambling to make money will not give you the financial independence and security you want. Make no mistake about it, buying flowers, every once in a while, will not fix a broken relationship. Are you getting my drift here?
If you would like to save time, money, heartache and create permanent positive change, and I am guessing you do, then follow the predictable path first. Even if it takes longer and is initially more challenging. It will definitely save you from the shiny-object quick-fix temptation that will zap your time, energy, money and self-belief. If you do, and fail, then you will know why. It means that the end result wasn’t important enough and your desire wasn’t strong enough. When you have a strong desire and you are willing to slow down and follow a predictable plan for success, no matter how long it takes, you will get there. 100% guaranteed! Please, fail our way first.
When you hear the word ‘adversity,’ what does image does it create in your mind? What about the words, ‘challenge,’ ‘problem,’ ‘issue,’ ‘uncertainty’ or ‘obstacle’? I don’t know about you, but the pictures that appear in my mind, when I hear those words, are not pleasant at all! Okay, what about when you think of the word ‘adventure,’ what image appears in your mind then? For me, it’s fun, exciting, exhilarating and enjoyable.
What I am going to suggest, in this week’s blog, is that we re-brand some of the situations and circumstances in our life to ‘adventure.’ Why? Because, in my mind, that’s what life actually is, one ongoing and exciting adventure. When we look at our circumstances as problems, challenges or obstacles, it can overwhelm us, create anxiety and zap our energy. Right? When we look at each day, and each situation as an adventure, it will inspire and energise us. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.
This has been ever further reinforced to me, this week, after a conversation with the inspiring Peter Chambers on my podcast called ‘The purpose in adversity.’ Just over 12 months ago, Peter was diagnosed with the degenerative and incurable Motor Neurone Disease, which has significantly affected the use of his arms, and hence his life. What inspires me most about Peter is that, despite his situation, he loves his life. Why? Because this situation and now the chance to be an advocate for MND and have a positive impact on the lives of many people, has given him purpose. He totally sees this situation, and his life, as an adventure, with wonderful opportunities appearing on a daily basis.
The question, I hear you asking is, how, when some tough things happen to us all, can we see each of them as an adventure? That’s an awesome question, and the answer is simple… it’s a choice. It’s all in the perspective with which we choose to look at things. Yes, I said choose. You and I have the choice as to how we see each situation or circumstance. Now, you may argue with me, at this point, and say that you have no choice when you are struck by what seems to be an undesirable situation. I would then ask you to consider, if many people are faced with the same situation, how come each has a different response and create a different outcome?
For example, the whole world has been faced with COVID, yet there have been a myriad of different responses and different outcomes for many people. For me, after a short period of fear and uncertainty, I have seen the whole COVID situation, and whatever will happen moving forward, as a wonderful adventure. During this adventure, I have recreated my business, found a global audience, am having a greater impact, have launched a podcast, have improved myself as a person, am having more fun and have an optimistic view of my future life.
You choose adventure by focussing on the most amazing and joyful outcome that will come as a result of facing each situation with positive action, expectancy and desire to make it great. Moving through a financial challenge is a wonderful adventure as you create financial strength and stability. Overcoming a health challenge, is an exciting adventure as you transform yourself to optimal wellbeing and enjoy the wonderful things that come with it. Dealing with a relationship struggle is an incredible adventure as you move towards a beautiful connection. Every time you deal with something that stretches you, it is an adventure, because it opens the door for you to learn, improve and then bless other lives as a result.
So, can you see, with the right mindset, it is all an adventure? Please don’t get me wrong here, I am not minimising anything you are dealing with. In my life so far, I have been publicly and humiliatingly sacked from my position as a professional athlete, I have lost my mother to cancer and experienced three divorces. I know what it means to deal with ‘stuff,’ but I choose to see every situation as an adventure, because I know in my heart, by the way I look at it and deal with it, my life will be better on the other side. I wish for you, as you go about living the best life you can possibly live, that you will believe and live by the mantra… it is all an adventure!