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The QUALITY of your Network is more important than your Quantity. Here’s why –

Who are ‘you?”

The Lifeblood of connecting 

Everyone wants to be rich. Right? Not you? Well, you’re special … 

Do you have a million dollars in cash laying around, what about a billion dollars? No, I didn’t think so, many don’t. Would be nice though, wouldn’t it?

What is ‘connecting’/networking” to you?

It would mean different things to different people. I’ve learned over the years that ‘good networking begins with the ability to start and carry on a good conversation.” We all have strengths and some people are better at ‘connecting’ than others. That is a strength of mine, has always been.

I don’t think anyone would get far in this world if you can’t make eye contact, act confidently, and engage in an intelligent conversation punctuated with give-and-take, back-and-forth dialogue. It begins with Trust, and the only word that describes trust, is, priceless. You can’t buy trust at any price but over time, with patience, you can earn that priceless trust. 

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years – if people you connect with, like you and they believe in you, then they will trust you, and if they trust you – then they may buy from you.

The lifeblood of connecting and the nurturing of relationships, stems from networking. Networking, to me, is your life skills and social skills combined with your business skills. Business pleasure done before and after regular work hours. …& during hours too (lunch meetings). 

There is life and happiness in sadness. Find it.

Good things come to those who have patience

To me, the ability to make conversation is an important part of nearly every relationship we have in our lives. The ability to engage in ‘small talk’ (have a listen to my tips in an early video), speaks volumes for you and leads to communication that deepens the relationship. 

So, “what you can do today?” you may be thinking

Here’s a place you could start from – try and perform one small act of kindness today without the expectation of getting something in return. Maybe pay for the coffee for the person who is standing in line behind you at the coffee shop? What can you do to brighten up someone’s day today?

In my experience, good things come to those who have patience and take consistent, persistent actions toward what they want or desire. They make committed decisions … decisions they ACT on. Just like what I’ve learned about building good Quality muscle with balance and symmetry. You need patience, above everything.

And do the right thing all the time, and respect will be yours. Believe in your heart that what you’re doing that the actions you’re taking is the best you can do – for yourself, first, and for others second. And always tell the truth. Here’s the thing about truth – no truth, no nothing. Full-stop!

I certainly understand the proliferation of social networking sites these days – they’re sprouting up everywhere. I also understand how it can help advance our careers (some of us) and help us meet like-minded individuals online.

But is it really good use of your time

I am very conscious of my time (just like many of you are) and I could see how a great deal of time spent on social networking sites can be unproductive and many times, online interactions are often superficial and unimportant. For me, I have a certain about of energy and I don’t like expelling it for less than life-affirming actions. I have seen that company mission statements mean nothing when the people they work for them are treated with disrespect. 

Let me ask you a few questions: are we really more connected today with all these technological gadgets and applications? In my mind, being ‘virtually’ connected and personally connected are two entirely different things. Sure, we need both in today’s world, but I would caution that the quality of your network is more important than your quantity. 

The jury is out on this one. Time will tell.

Believe in you. In what you have to offer to help people, help themselves achieve something they care about. Be persistent.

Reach out and touch someone

I’d rather have 200 ‘live’ people than 2000 “friends’ on Facebook.

Just like I approach adding and retaining QUALITY muscle, I retain ‘old school’ principles but add a ‘modern twist/flavour’ to muscle growth and sculpture. When it comes to networking and building quality connections in today’s high-tech world, you need to combine the new technology with the ‘old-school’ way of connecting. 

And how do you do this?”

Well, you can’t build muscle by thinking about or reading about it … you actually have to go and reach out and lift the weight and feel the muscle. Same for quality relationships, you need to go and ‘reach out’ and touch someone (I love that Noiseworks song “Reach out”). 

I’ve been in and around gym for almost 30 years now and have had over 30,000 + conversations and this is being conservative. I particularly had multiple conversations for 12 to 18 hour days, 7 days a week, with people of all ages and from all backgrounds in the seven years that I owned and managed my Family Gym. I probably have listened to more stories from individuals than the average person alive today has in the 100 year lifespan. 

I’ve offered my ears and shoulders to lean – on and cry on. I’ve wiped their tears, I’ve given them unsolicited hugs. I’ve offered good advice for free and I’ve made phone calls that many would not do. I’ve shared stories and made them laugh during their sad days and I’ve reminded them of the good times they had; I’ve driven to their homes and personally knocked on their doors to see if they were ok; they were pleasantly shocked and grateful for they weren’t in a very good place at that time; I’ve been the clown when I needed to be to infuse people with happiness and vitality … and also showing them that it’s ok not to take life and themselves too seriously all the time. 

Read that last paragraph again. 

I have mentioned ways in which I believe I worked very hard to be a source of comfort and strength and wisdom for the members of my Family Gym and others connected to my businesses. It was about building Quality Relationships, not superficial ones. What they were, are, what some people refer to as “random acts of kindness” (when no one is watching or awards given out) that you do, simply because you care about them. They nurture relationships and some develop in to quality and convey to others what it means to be a good friend. 

Like many things in life – like sex and chocolate and clothing … quality is better than quantity.

Do the Right thing, not some of the time .. but all the time.

Be an Active Listener

It is difficult to make connections but it is often more difficult to make important connections. The least understood element of connecting is that it’s a two way street. Yes, we always want to connect with someone else but the more important question is – do they want to connect with you?

What is your idea of being a ‘friend?” A Business/Life Mentor told me a long time ago that – 

Connecting is really all about being nice. Your friendliness is partly your ability to engage and your willingness to give Value first.” 

When you combine the attributes of niceness/friendliness with engagement and value, you will develop powerful connections that lead to RICH relationships. 

For some, the talking part of a relationship comes easy but there is another side of the equation in any relationship worth keeping and that is being a good listener. Do you think you’re a good listener? Staying engaged as an ‘active’ listener is very hard work because you need to stay focused and not let your mind wonder. I believe that as you become better at listening, you also improve your ability to win friends and influence others – and perhaps avoid a misunderstanding that can set relationships back years. 

I have seen this happen. Don’t let it happen to you. Focus on becoming a better listener, an Active Listener. 

I am a far better listener now than I ever was in my life, thanks in part, to my years of owning my own gym business. It’s easy to get complacent but I remind myself every now and then to be attentive when someone tells a long-winded story (like my 9 year old son … can he tell stories, must take after his Dad, ha ha ha!)

If you aim to be a top-notch connector or networker, it is essential that you become a more improved active listener.

If you don’t get what you want … learn why and seek another solution.

Powerful connection

The more people who are attracted to you, the MORE solid your connections you’ll make. Here’s a question – think about your most powerful connections right now. Make a list of four or five of them (Hopefully, you have that many)). Next, to each of them, write a sentence or two about how they have helped you, and how you would like them to continue to help you. Then, write a sentence or two about how you have helped them. 

Here’s an example of a powerful connection I have – Through my adding value to one member of my gym over six months, I was one connection away from the most Powerful Man in the world at one time – Mr Barack Obama. This man that came to me to help him, help himself be his best self was part of the President of the United State’s inner sanctum and advisory/support team. He was the best at what he did and was head-hunted by the Obama’s to help manage part of his 2nd term Presidential campaign because of the help he gave the Clinton’s prior to that. So, effectively, the value I gave to my client (and now friend) was (and still is) a very powerful connection to have, as it is only one connection to President Obama. 

Now, make a list of four or five people that you would love to meet because they could help your personal growth. Ask yourself, how can you give value, first. I have found that if you make yourself valuable, and memorable, people will desire to make you part of their network. Also, in my experience in helping people, help themselves over the last 3 decades, the important thing is just that: make sure you’re prepared to help someone else get better whether it is a one-to-one meeting or a networking event. 

The question you have to ask yourself is this: How can I help people, help themselves to achieve something they care about? That has been my mantra in helping people, ‘build their bridges’ over the last three decades. I’ve asked myself how can I make people better as a direct result of connecting with me? Now, this should be done with care. What I mean by this is that, you can use this strategy to connect with anyone, anywhere, and not just use it as a strategy to connect at a networking event.

Find your superpowers. Know your superpowers. Work to your superpowers (strengths)

Not everyone is a connection

I have learned that not everyone is a connection, and each person you meet is a valuable lesson in the art of connecting and networking. In my experience, when you begin to give value to the world, somehow the people you affect will find a way to tell you. Even if it takes a couple of years. I have experienced that many times over the years.  

We have been told that it’s ‘who you know that matters’. I don’t fully agree with this. I believe it’s ‘who knows you, that really matters’ in the long-term.

Realise this – the first stage of being liked and connected to is the person you see in the mirror when you look at it. As Dr Benjamin Spock said –

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”

The person needs to be be loved, before he/she can give love. Then, give, first. Easier said than done some times, but to get what you want … you must give of yourself first – without measuring. 

Believe in yourself. Dig in and ‘get your hands dirt’ and become the person you aspire to be … a person of performance and ‘getting shit done!’

Sit back, thank God … and think to yourself ‘wow!”

Hope you found this helpful to you and your business,

 

Yours in iron, mind, heart & muscles,

Paul e Valentine

There is a Lion in you .. in every one of us. Find that Lion and overcome your fears … fears of rejection, fear of failure, fear of what others think of you. Believe in YOU.

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Having “Common Sense” is weird but is a KEY to being a Leader

Have courage. common sense. ability to reason. Like ALL Great Leaders.

The New Style is yesterday’s ‘weird

The new style is yesterday’s weird … let me elaborate as I story-tell …

I played and excelled at many sports but chose the sport of Bodybuilding or Physique Artistry, just like the greatest Bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I thought he was weird (abnormal compared to the majority of people). People thought I was weird because of my sport choice Almost 30 years ago now. They thought that – “once-upon-a-time” but not anymore.

Everyone knows who the most famous bodybuilder of all time is – Governor, movie A-lister, Humanitarian and great-all-round human, Mr Arnold Schwarzennegger. Now, over 250,000+ people flock to the Arnold Sports, USA Festival every year and, this is all over the world., even one here in Melbourne, Australia.

We’ve been in a Fitness revolution and every “Tom, Dick & Harry” wants to be bodybuilder. It no longer is weird to go the the gym and lift Weights ‍♂ and train to look your best.

Funny how definitions of weird changes over time.

never forget this

Weird could be “insanity” or ‘vision’

Very religious and spiritual people could be considered “weird” by many too. Someone driven to achieve an IMpossible goal because he/she has a dream but no one else “sees” it , but them. Weird could be insanity or vision. For example, if an entrepreneur has an idea and …. Succeeds, people say he/she is a visionary, but if it doesn’t, they say the person was insane (& so weird).

Genuine Leaders/Great Leaders & Champions of industry & different areas of life fall into this category. They create & innovate … bring about or manifest into the physical reality.

They SEE “what CAN BE”, instead of just “what IS”. This could be considered wierd by some who can’t visualise or even try to simulate possibilities.

The list of what is “weird “ and what isn’t could go on forever. We can just agree to disagree, as it seems it is a matter of opinion anyway.

I think  whether you think  you’re weird or not, does not really matter. There will always be people who would disagree with you. What’s most important is that being “wierd” is a key part of being a Leader. Yes, almost all great Leaders share many common traits, one of which of being weird.

Weird or not, ALL Leaders need to have “common sense” and not get caught up on whether or not you or people think your weird.

The warrior of love 💓
It takes courage to be Leader, to have the Strength to take on more than you ever thought possible.
The most important Power of all.

Many people are scared of what other people would think of them.

Many people are scared of what other people would think of them, instead of ‘fear of failure‘ as many believe. I never have, thanks to my grandmother who raised me. She would ask me when I hesitated because “other people were watching” and say –

“Do they feed you?”

I would reply – “no”

“Do they clothe you?” She would ask

And I would say “no”

Then, she would say – “then don’t worry about it … now go Out there and put on a performance they won’t forget!”

And I would. I’ve had her voice in my head all my life. Has never failed me … I don’t suffer from “nerves” like many people do. Now, this could be considered weird.

Take a stand … a stand of what you believe… IN… and know you have support of the angels

Common sense isn’t ‘common’ anymore

Real Leaders simply have common sense . One of the main reasons I say this is that , as a human being – YOU, me & everyone … we can agree that the ONLY thing that we’ve got going for ourselves is –

  1. the ability to reason
  2. your common sense

What I mean is that if you don’t know a “dip of horse  sh%t “ from a “dip of vanilla ice-cream”, you’ll NEVER MAKE IT as a Leader.

Whether you’re weird or not. That is a cold but hard fact! It seems common sense isn’t common anymore.

People ask – “why?” … I /My curiosity continually askS “why not?”
Seek possibilities… always

YOU

The hardest thing to do is also the “weirdest “ thing to do: to just be “you. But, this could be the greatest thing you may ever accomplish in your life …

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson-

This, ultimately, takes courage. Do you have “what it takes?” To be weird. It brings you closer to love . Being truly “you” and not an imitation of someone else … may be weird , but that also means that you have tonnes of courage (unlike many, who speak it but don’t actually DO it).

But having courage is the beginning and foundation or everything you will and can achieve in life … that is work h achieving.

“You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous. You cannot be loving if you are not courageous. You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous. You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous. Hence courage comes first and everything else follows.”

  • Osho

So I say be courageous… be weird but ultimately, be YOU. However, that opens up another question – Do you know ‘YOU?”

I mean if Scientists agree that despite having come a long way with advances in Science & Technology and the world around us but still think ‘who we are (our minds), is a baffling mystery. Question remains: Who are you?

Cheers to being weird!! & Cheers from Sunny  Sydney, Australia

Best of Vitality to you tribe members.

Yours in iron, pockets of thought-energy & muscles ,

Paul e Valentine

**Personal Life & Lifestyle Doctor**

Valentine Vitality THINK TANK

ME.
In Tiger form.

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UN-True Gods

Keep working toward being the best YOU can be.

What and who do you idolise?

We are taught that idolatory is placing our longings for what only God can provide in the hands of a creature instead of the Creator. What and who do you idolise? Have you thought about this?

Have you thought about this – when I live for my work, or my wife, then I have made them my UN-true God. When I have failed … and I will fail… multiple times… (I can be sure that an UN-True God will be powerless at the point of my greatest cry out for help & need).

What will happen then?

Pose name: Rear Lats-Spread
You’re looking at a well-sculptured, world-class back. I built this with Trust in God first, and trust in – ME.

SHAME on YOU

What will happen is … I will experience the shame of failure and misplaced Trust. Why is trust is important? Because, it is. Read about Trust here. The authors of the Bible are very clear that dependence on an UN-true or “False” God will inevitably result in loss, pain and most horribly – shame (Isaiah 42:17; 44:9-11).

It seems that a False God will always disappoint.

Here is a story about shame .. I’m sure, each and every one of us can relate

A friend of a friend once told me that she waited for her mother for what seemed like 3 hours at an airport once. She had a wait ‘in-transit’ and notified the ‘busy’ mum about the opportunity to meet. The mum agreed two days before this was to occur.

She waited.

And waited.

She told herself not to put too much faith in her mum, for fear that she might forget and she told herself not to build up to much faith in her mum. Her mum was full of energy and vitality and had so much time for everything and everyone but …

Her.

She waited.

And waited.

Going through what she would say to her mum over and over in her head. All the things she wanted to share with her.

Time passed.

She did not come.

After the first hour, she would stop looking up to see if her mum would be there and just buried her head in her book. But, it wasn’t perfect, heck, nothing is ever perfect. So … she would hesitantly …

Look up!

Hoping that she would finally see her there, but no.

No one.

She would feel an immense wave of self-hatred and shame. The worst feeling one could feel, of all the feelings you could feel that is negative, shame is the lowest of the low.

Pose Name: Back Double-Biceps
The extent of Back Development highlights the extent of development the athlete has in the understanding of the sport of physique sculpting. Not resorting to illegal performance enhancing drugs is a choice. Building muscle the “natural “ way allows you to hang on to it, even if you don’t work out for a while.

There is no hope

She hoped.

She was looking for hope. Hope that she would connect with the Woman who was her False God – the one who could bestow or retract her life.

But THAT Idolised God … the woman she called her mum …

Failed her.

And she was ashamed.

The question is not why did she allow that to happen, the question is why do we all experience that feeling of shame at least once in our lives? Why, I ask? Why do we allow ourselves to be hurt and shamed by False Gods? They are not worth it… there is only one God and he is not a False God.

Persons must ‘open’ their eyes … open their minds.

Pose Name: Side Triceps.
One of my favourites … in my gym of 7 years. Everything we achieve in life and everyone we interact with in life, is founded on Trust.

Losing Face

Shame is the lowest level anyone can experience out of all the negative, low consciousness levels, lower than even Guilt. It is perilously proximate to death, which may be chosen out of Shame as conscious suicide or more subtly elected by failure to take steps to prolong life.

It seems, death by avoidable accident is common in this circumstance. We all have had some experience in our lives so far of .. ‘losing face’, becoming discredited, or feeling like a ‘non-person.”

We all want to be Mr or Mrs Invisible when we feel shame, hanging our heads and slinking away. In primitive societies, even in Biblical times, from which we all come from, banishment is equivalent to death. Remember Cain, the brother of Abel? He was banished.

The equivalent of death, it was.

Shame, as Freud determined, produces neurosis. It’s destructive to emotional and psychological health and feeds in to low self-esteem.

This ultimately leads to the development of physical illness. “It seems that the Shame-based personality is shy, withdrawn, and introverted.” (Dr. David R. Hawkins, Power v Force)

Do you harbour any shame from your childhood? I would suggest you work out a way to rid it from your inside, from your soul before it’s ugly head rears itself further down the track in your life.

Training efficiently and effectively under the “safety umbrella ☔️ “ helped me get to 2 x world 🌎 championships. 
The conservative approach to training is always the best way in the long term (it may take longer, ie., it took me 10 years to get to the World 🌎 stage, but I did. With all my joints in tacked. No injuries in almost 30 years of lifting weights 🏋️‍♂️ is a great record to have.

The Greatest Loss – our failure to trust … GOD

The greatest loss is the greatest shame.

And what is that ‘greatest shame?” It comes down to something I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. It comes down to Trust.

Yes, trust.

It is our ultimate failure to trust God.

What is your ‘world-view’ on trust? Is it the Bible’s interpretation of Trust, at it’s essential core? What is the Biblical version of Trust? As I see it –

Trust seems to involve a reliance on God for what seems to be the most essential to our being, to us – being human. And what is that, you may think.

Trust in God.
He is the only TRUE God

S.O.S

Well, it is fundamentally the whole-ness of our soul, our spirit. The intact-ness of it, all. One should never lose one’s soul/spirit to anything or anyone that could be considered to be a False God.

Why is the soul important?

Well, for many reasons but one reason is that anyone or anything should not be allowed to shame or disgrace or possess our soul – that quintessential core of who we are.

That ‘essence’ that will live forever … eternally with God, our True God … no matter what is done to our body, reputation or temporal security.

S.O.S

Save Our SOULS.

Please.

True GOD.

 

Cheers & AhoY!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & shame

Don’t instill shame in your kids. Teach them to have a relationship with God, the True God

Help people strengthen their resolve, internally, with their own souls
so… that nothing can tear it out.

 

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Death of a Cubicle Worker

Bigger isn’t necessarily better but … it can smash things (like the Hulk)

Bigger isn’t necessarily better

I remember the last words my boss of almost three years say to me as I walked out of his office –

Paul, bigger isn’t necessarily better’.

I nodded at him, smiled and left. This happened a long time ago, back in 2003.

You see I had an offer to go work at one of the Top 2 Accounting & Business Advisory Firms in the world and I was leaving my role as a Senior Accountant of a 2nd-tier Accounting & Business Firm in Sydney, Australia (Top 20 in Australia).

It was exciting and even though my boss was happy for me, I could tell he was a little sad. I had handled his clients for almost three years and did a good job at it, working very hard. Heck, for about six months after I joined, my Manager upped and walked out and I was thrust in to an “acting Manager” role. I held the fort, so to speak for half a year while they looked for someone appropriately qualified and skilled.

He liked me. I was loyal and I was there when he needed me. This was reflected in my six-monthly salary review, I was handsomely compensated and was at the top of the salary range of my peers. “Not bad” I thought.

I could not foresee the future and being a candidate for the death of a cubicle worker.

Funny thing is that that piece of advice also applies to muscles and bodybuilding. The guy with the biggest muscles doesn’t necessarily win on stage in competition. That is because the guy with the most balanced & symmetrical physique with the right muscle: joint ratios and knowledge of the ‘art of posing’ is what builds a champion physique.

I’d understand that fully in my next phase of life, only a few years from where I was then …

 

Exactly.
No one can truly see the future but we can certainly extrapolate current patterns to help predict the future.

When being your Best isn’t good enough

I was hired at a newly-created level just below the “Senior” level I was at my old Firm. It was a blow to my ego, initially, as I felt that I was being demoted. I brushed that out of my mind and told myself that ‘it was only a title’.

Thing is, that initial thought bugged me right through my experience there and every other thing that bugged me just seemed much bigger than what it was. Hey, I was back at a Big Four! (My first Corporate work experience was at the largest of the Big 7 at that time – Arthur Andersen, just after graduation in the late 90s, where I spent over 2 years as a Risk Consultant).

It is now the Big Four.

Was nice to be back, or so I thought.

Let me just say that …I failed at my role. This is when I learned how being your best was not good enough.

I was going from a mid-tier to a Big Four and that was a ‘step up’ in the world, or so we believed. My first, heck, my first three months was nerve wrecking and admittedly, I found the place intimidating, cold and I was filled with fear but also a bit of excitement and loads of nervous energy.

But I had a bit of pride about it all.

I was sort of average at University. Many students had been far above me on the Dean’s list and graduated with honours and straight A’s. Not me. I had never hit any academic home-run except when I was in Primary and High School.

But that was a long time ago…. and besides, I was literally practising my social skills and building relationships and making connections in many sections of life. Skills like honing ‘small talk’ in various social situations, comfortably having conversations with people from all levels of the university and society- from the Chancellor, to having beers with Heads of Departments, to Gym Managers to gardeners. I spent a lot of that time mixing and socialising and finding out more about people as I ran a small business on the side too.

Besides there just so much to do besides study for straight As, and working on developing ‘me’ as a whole person and …. I had the energy and foresight to do that.

“What did my employer see in me? “ I used to ask myself.

They were looking for “well-rounded” individuals with experience along with brains… not just super-brains with no ‘people skills’. Ha! All that time running a business while studying and socialising wasn’t a waste after all. Apparently, many studies from major educational institutions indicate that the ability to connect with people is a key skill to have in life, a part of what is now commonly known as ‘Emotional Intelligence’.

One thing that immediately bugged me after getting that ‘newly-created’ title was I wasn’t getting much more than what I was getting at my old job.

I went from a Window Cubicle with great views to a ‘hot-desk’ and great work colleagues and a wonderful culture to something that was very different. A hot desk means that you don’t really work there and they don’t give you a permanent spot. You’re meant to be at your client’s premises, because if you are then, you’re charging your time to the client.

The firm makes it’s money that way, they had many perks. Employees loved that. I wasn’t phased.

The office was huge. An open-flat plan, comprising of a cubicle-walled jigsaw puzzle that felt like one of those boxes they make white mice run through to find the cheese.

Sometimes taking a bad photo of yourself can be very good for your own good. Just like sometimes, the greatest hurt teaches you the most.

Our Life-Controlling Mechanism

We can fill our minds with inspirational messages encouraging us to “Just do it!” or “Follow your heart!” so when we can’t do something or we recognize we aren’t good at something, we feel stuck. If we quit, that’s a problem (“Just do it! Don’t give up!”)

Sticking with it and quitting is a losing game, it is a lose-lose situation. No amount of positive affirmation can get you out of this abyss.

You feel like you’re unable to move at all.

Not able to think straight .. I felt like an imposter .. that I wasn’t good enough to be amongst the best of the best … not a good feeling to have at all.

I grinded my teeth as I slept, tossing and turning at night, and waking up with a feeling of dread in my stomach. I couldn’t handle that immense feeling of failure that kept rising and rising. Was it that I couldn’t do my job or I just lost all care about doing it? I’m not sure what happened first, my memory may have been a bit distorted.

I didn’t know where to turn.

I felt trapped.

You see, each of us have our own self-image, which kind of determines the kind of scope of person we are – it is our Life Controlling Mechanism. You see, we all have self-imposed limitations and we cannot outgrow these limits we place on ourselves.

We can only set new limits within which we must live.

Sometimes inspiration is not what you need, it is acceptance.

Acceptance so that you can move on and one day be in a position to say –

“I used to do that at one time in my life, but I no longer do”

A very powerful phrase to say. We all need to think we are making progress in life, no matter how small ‘that’ progress is. Saying ‘I used to do that?” gives you at least a perception that you’re kind of progressing in life.

Never give up.
In less than I year of leaving my cubicle in the Corporate Environment I was standing and competing against the best natural bodybuilders in the world at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships in New York, USA.
Find your strengths .. know your strengths .. continuously build your strength on strengths.
Never give up

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

Especially if you’re hard on yourself like I am.

What doorways are you trying to squeeze yourself through right now where … you know what?

You really fit just fine. You are not the problems. It is the environment that you are working in, that is the problem. If you take a fish out of water and expect it to climb a tree, it will fail miserably.

Does the environment make us believe it’s all our fault? Yes, yes, definitely yes.

We live in a world where the screws are on tight. There’s a capitalistic shrink wrap making sure everything is fitter, happier, and more productive. So sometimes the stress on all of us builds too high.

There’s no room for error.

Now, that doesn’t mean my bosses at the Top Firm were bad, they absolutely weren’t. They had lofty expectations and needed me to help. Fast! The screws were tight on them, too.

No wonder it’s such a hard lesson to learn as we’re falling that we’re okay, we’re okay, we’re okay. And maybe it’s just not about us. It simply isn’t about us.

Well, nobody is telling us that. So we always think it’s always about us.

Maybe what we need is simply – a Fresh Start.

I did.

A few years later I did what I really loved to do and that was to coach people how to be their Best – I owned and managed my Family Gym for about seven years. That failure at that cubicle job had many benefits, it spurred me on to very intense self-reflections and an identification of personal strengths. So much so, that in less than a year of leaving the cubicle world, I was competing at my first of two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, representing Australia.

Finally, this fish was in the ‘right environment’ and my Best was good enough… good enough to be one of the best in the world at my chosen activity (Top 5 in the world two years in a row, representing the country I love).

You see I’ve learned many things from that failed cubicle job experience and one of it is that it’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.

I wonder what yours is?

I know one thing for certain … the future of work will see the death of many cubicle workers. It already has as technology has allowed many employees to work from a distance already. Be creative and consider strategies for your future and the future of work, Now.

Never forget: BELIEVE in YOU, first.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk

Learning from the best at something, to be your best is the quickest way to get to where you’re going.
No one can teach you what they don’t know.

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To DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

The brain cannot multi-task, this is a myth.
Neuroscience shows that the brain can only TASK-SWITCH.
You CANNOT multi-task without mistakes.
Teach yourself to DO NOTHING … to SIT STILL. … to …
Just BE.

Sitting still is UN-Easy

My daughter and son are now almost eleven and nine respectively.

I have watched them grow in to enthusiastic and very curious individuals. They have the same blueprint but have very different personalities and appreciate their own uniqueness. Over the years, I have given them many challenges for their growth, in various forms – art, music, sport, mental agility, verbal wrestling etc.

When they were four and two respectively, I gave them a challenge to DO NOTHING … just to sit ‘still’. We first began with 20 seconds and kept increasing. Like any new habit, the first time was quite difficult for them, being kids .. but as time went on, they got better at it. It was the hardest thing they have had to do in my opinion and is one of the hardest things for adults to do too.

Sitting still is UN-Easy, indeed. Some cultures do this better than others and I believe many in the developed world can take a page out of the Fijian’s handbook. It is no fluke that they are the happiest people on the planet. They know when to work … and when to relax. They don’t mix the two.

Try it. How did you go?

Guess how good my children are at sitting still now? Yep, they can sit still for an hour with ease now, when they need to. Like all habits, it takes patience and practise.

People in a hurry struggle to find time for recovery, real recovery. Many look forward to their annual 4 week leave, but by then, it is too late, as you cannot escape your mind. You can only manage it better. Their minds have little time to meditate, to UN-Think, to just BE. Still. Their minds have little time to pray and their problems seem to get ‘blown out of proportion” and usually taken out of perspective.

In short, I believe people in our very fast-paced cities and societies have been showing clear signs of physiological and psychological disintegration because of many reasons. One key reason, as I see it is that we are living at a pace that is too fast for our bodies. It seems that people think that all other areas of life needs to be changed as fast as technology changes.

Nope, very bad extrapolation of ‘correlation’ if you asked me. This, I believe is the Essence of the Stress Problem in society, as this way of thinking feeds in to the ‘instant gratification’ mentality afflicting many in our modern-day societies.

Find your inner-peace but don’t wait too long … or until you’re a skeleton

ACTing to Create Change

It is difficult to get YOU and your mind to be in the Present moment, to have mindful connection with the present moment. Why is that? I wrote that one way to do so is to learn to “UN-Think”.

You see, from my experience, plugging back into the present moment and connecting with our surroundings does not need to be complicated.

Being in the present moment tends to prove most difficult when we are troubled with a major life problem, loss or trauma, and no one reading this and alive, can say that they haven’t experienced these challenges.

As we all know, problems have the habit of filling our minds and taking over our thoughts to the point where we can be emotionally and mentally absent from the people around us. This is why we all need to improve our skill at being still.

You see, I believe, to do nothing and be still is an under-rated, yet, KEY life skill, as hinted in the Bible –

“Be still and know that I am God.”    

  • Psalm 46:10

But many have forgotten how to do so because they are always ‘busy’. “How are you?” I would ask … to a response of – “busy!” . Really, I ask myself.

Like all new skills, practice makes a huge difference and with perseverance, the skill becomes easier to master.

Here are a few routines you could practise to help you get back to the present moment, as part of your acting to create change

  • Apply your senses
    1. Stop
    2. Be Still.
    3. Concentrate on trying to name 3 things you can –
      1. See
      2. Hear Feel or touch
  • Grounding YOU”
    1. Stop.
    2. Be Still.
    3. Push your feet into the ground (feel that force travel through your feet into your glutes into your lower back and up towards your neck)
    4. Consciously straighten your back.
    5. Chin up and shoulders back.

STOP and RELAX
After almost 30 years of training with weights in the gym, I have found that Breathing properly is one of the Key factors in achieving the results you desire. Apart from staying alive, breathing properly allows you to focus better and when you focus better, you have improved ‘mind-muscle’ connection, you become “ONE”.

When you have better mind-muscle connection, you feel and control the weight better and when this happens, you build quality muscle better. Breathing correctly increases your self-awareness and helps you avoid injuries in the gym (part of the reason I have stayed INJURY-FREE since I began weight training in the gym).

Stop and Relax

  1. Stop.
  2. Be still.
  3. Take a deep breath and count ‘one’
  4. Then breathe again ..
  5. And Count ‘Two’ in your head …
  6. Then breathe again ..
  7. And count “Three” in your head…
  8. And keep going to ten.

 

If you can focus on nothing else but the numbers and not let any other thought come in to your mind as you count one through to ten while focusing on breathing slowly and deeply, you would have gotten closer to mastering the ‘art of concentration’.

Try it. See how you feel.

Find that place where you can sit ‘still’ and ‘ do nothing’ … but just BE. For me, it is where the land meets and sea that meets the sky. I sit still and do nothing but listen and see and smell and feel. where do you go?

 Stress-Free Living

I have noticed that many expressions of spirituality have become linked to adrenalin arousal. I believe, can be very harmful. In recent times (over the last 10 years or so), many modern-day sages or ‘saints’ seem to find their peak spiritual experiences in exciting challenges or emotional catharsis.

Why?

[Many] seem to confuse adrenalin arousal with spiritual growth. If their bodies were stimulated, they then felt they were growing spiritually. If they were not stimulated, they felt nothing was happening.

Well, I’ve got news for you … it ISN’T!

The saddest thing about this kind of confusion is that it actually works against spiritual growth. People are confusing adrenalin arousal with spirituality. Many true saints of God as outlined in the Bible found their peak spiritual experiences in quietness and solitude.

Here’s the prescription for ‘stress-free living’:

“your beauty … should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet smile, which is of great worth in God’s sigh.”

  • 1 Peter 3:3-4

This truth, which was meant for wives in the original context is a wonderful secret to stress-free living.

Begin with YOU … the internal-you.

Then, worry about the external.

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & learning to DO NOTHING could be the best thing you could do for yourself.

Have no doubt.
Help yourself first.
God will meet you half way …
he ALWAYS does.
All you have to do is: BELIEVE.

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11.5 KEY Life Lessons I’ve learned in my life so far …

Do you believe in Love at first sight?

ONE. GIVE people more than then they expect.

Go the extra mile. Do it with a smile.

Human nature (especially in the Western World), teaches us to “Take”. We are constantly taking, taking things in life, for granted and by doing this philosophy of taking, we are intentionally Taking from Themselves.

If you’re a Christian like I am, you will know that the Bible teaches that to receive, you have to GIVE. You can give, in many ways – financially, emotionally, intellectually, your time etc.

I believe, your greatest GIFT to others and the world is your Attitude. Having an Attitude of Gratitude’ (by giving Thanks), you connect yourself to the magic in the universe and ultimately receive everything you desire in life.

One must deliberately think and feel Gratitude, there is no other way to tap in to the abundance but first, you must give.

I like the point where the sun looks down where the land meets the sea meets the sky. My Golden Point. Do you have yours? Where?

TWO. Don’t believe everything you hear or read.

Reality is what you perceive it to be, not what others tell you it is. If you don’t think so, just watch a really good magician or illusionist change your reality right before your eyes.

Also, spend all you have and sleep all you want.

Continuously helping you become the best you can be … BEGIN help by helping yourself.
Then,
Reach out and touch someone … be the light for someone who can only see darkness.
Help them see ‘beauty’ .. see their truth.
Help them manage their insanity with sanity … their chaos with order.
Pray.

THREE. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been with a woman who said she just wanted to keep talking to me from the very first time she met and hear my voice. I think that is one of the best compliments I have ever had.

I feel the same way about her and we have been together since we first laid eyes on each other twenty years ago.

As you get older, their conversation skills will be as important as any other.

Thank you, my darling wife and dear life friend, Cathy for the last twenty years of talking and conversing.

A lovely time out on the ski slopes.

FOUR. When you say, “I love you,’ MEAN it.

I’ve heard it and so may, have you. People who rattle off the phrase ‘I Love you’ but, you know they don’t really mean it as their actions to match the words.

From my experience, love is worth the risk.

It is quite simple, if you say it, mean it.

Don’t abuse that phrase.

To pursue your SHIT and never achieving it is far better than never having a go at your SHIT and living with regret forever.

FIVE. Live with each other for at least six months before you get married.

About eighteen years ago, my girlfriend at that time (my wife now), asked me to move in with her. After two weeks of deliberation, I called her up and said –

“why not, let’s just do it”

We were both a little scared. It was new territory for both of us. We agreed that we would give it a try for six months. If either of us or both didn’t like living with each other, we would call it quits and go separate ways.

I heard couples breaking up because they pressed the toothpaste from different ends. Apparently, the little mosquitoes irritate you more in life.

Almost twenty years later, we have beautiful memories with two beautiful children and a dog.

The six months was a key moment in our relationship.

Thank you, Cathy for agreeing with me to do this all those years ago.

Travelling the uncertain seas of life together.
Love is worth the risk.

SIX. Believe in love at first sight.

I know some people don’t believe in this and try to analyse their future love partners based on other logical reasoning like income, status, intelligence, looks, height etc

They’re all important, yes they are.

I believe they are not as important as listening to your intuition in choosing a partner. This usually involves illogical reasoning and matters of the heart, which is tied to your eyesight and seeing love before your eyes.

It is a beautiful thing.

I’m still with my wife from the first time I laid eyes on her in the Photocopying/Fax Room at our place of work, in the year 2000. We were Business Consultants working for a Top Advisory Firm in Sydney, Australia.

She gave me the best smile I had ever seen and I believe I saw her heart smile to me, through her eyes.

I fell in love, then and my love for her has grown every day since.

What do think YOU see in the mirror?

SEVEN. Don’t laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams, don’t have much.

What are dreams?

Dreams tell dreamers what could be as opposed to what currently is. Dreams are essential to creativity and innovation and achieving goals.

What are goals?

They are ‘dreams with a deadline.’ Everything begins and ends in the mind, starting with your imagination/dreams. As a mentor once said –

If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.

I used to tell people that if I made that person I see in the mirror better than, last week, than last month, than last year … in ten years I will be on the World Stage, standing and competing against the best in the world.”

Within ten years, I stood on stage against the best natural bodybuilders at that time, representing Australia. A Big Dream, come true. I repeated the feat the following year for good measure. As a great mentor once said –

“If you think you can, you’re right … you CAN.”

Don’t ever laugh at another person’s dream, no matter how far-fetched it is.

My ten year dream. Achieved. Twice.
Believe in YOU. Have a Quality Plan and then Work that Quality Plan

EIGHT: Great love and great achievements involve great risk.

It is worth it, if you desire it so.

Life, is many things and one of them is – life is a big exercise in Risk Management.

Remember: No Risk, No nothing.

Wonderful insight in to the mind of a Great Leader

NINE. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

Smiles should be traded in, like the Stock Market.

Those who smile often and readily, should get credits of some sort from society. Smiling makes everything a little better, unless you’re the Joker and going up against Batman.

Everything is going to be alright.

Smile.

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona
Smiling is a habit of mine. … a contagious habit I must add.

TEN. Disagree with people, if you must but don’t hate them.

It’s ok agree to disagree and still like someone.

In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling and personal judgements. Leave judgemental comments to God or people who have a profession as a Judge.

Shit happens. Stand your ground. Don’t be afraid.

Exactly.

ELEVEN point (.) Five: Spend time alone. Learn to enjoy your own company.

I enjoy my own company.

Do you?

You can be alone, but you are not necessarily lonely. Many people cannot stand being alone with themselves. It can be the most difficult thing for some people to do, the thought of spending time with themselves, with their own minds, with their inner-thoughts is just not ‘cup-o-tea’.

Spending time alone can be beneficial in more ways than one. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time initially, you can simply start small and slow.

The important thing is to Start.

My time alone produces my version of magic.
My Fine-line drawing paper art.
The fusion of chaos & order … that point where I dance with peace.

This is a list of only 11.5 Key lessons from my life so far … ‘0.5″ because the list is not exhaustive.  Many other lessons you can choose to learn as you travel through life. The skill is in identifying the relevant ones with appropriate sufficiency.

All the very best in your choices,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & Life lessons/hacks (11.5 Key) so far …

The Old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk and his pirate dog – “Mr Fuzzy/Fussy Cuddles”

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Headship

To lead, you need to serve … you need to spread your love … you need to spread your wings … and be the wind beneathe other wings …
Here I am spreading my wings … my lats … just like Batman’s cape

Another term for Leadership

Have you heard of the term – “Headship?”

It is another term for Leadership.

I think it has a Biblical origin, whereby the man is recognised as the “head” in marriage and so he was endowed with authority and the right-to-dominate. This set of beliefs would not sit well with women in marriages or society in general, today, and understandably so.

It may have been Paul’s mistake of patterning the man’s role as “head” after Jesus Christ’s position as “Head-of-the-Church” which gave weight to the husband’s role in a marriage. Patterning your life on someone else without thinking about possible negative consequences can be a dangerous thing.

Great Leaders bring out the best in others … Great Leaders walk the trenches with their men … great leaders are great servants
Here I am with the members of my gym
Members that I served for 7 years of my life …
to be their BEST

A True Leader has a Servant’s Heart

Should the husband, become Lord and Master or Servant, I ask you?

The Man and Christ have been compared since, so does that automatically give the Man all the rights and roles to that of the Lord in the home?

I think many in societies today still act out this misconception in families and in other areas of life, like board rooms, sports fields etc. Men dominate to a significant degree. Change is happening but it is happening so slow that the real benefits will be experienced fifty to hundred years from now.

But why?

What are some of the traits of good Leaders anyway?

I think the great Leader and teacher of Leadership, Mr John C Maxwell, stated it rightly –

“The best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves.”

How many of you reading this can honestly look at yourself in the mirror and say that you truly have a servant’s heart?

I agree, totally, … all great Leaders have a servant’s heart. Can you think of some great Leaders? Who comes to mind? Gandhi? Nelson Mendela? Donald Trump? General H. Norman Schwarzkopf? Jesus Christ?

There are many good Leaders .. but not many, Great Leaders throughout history.

Winning this award in 2008 for the BEST GYM in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was the best award I have ever received (better than my 2 x World Championship trophies)
It was an award judged and voted on by the residents of the Northern Beaches on the BEST GYM & related Services in the Health & Fitness category

Headship means responsibility to act in love

We, as humans making our path through the maize of life, tend to seek & gravitate to Leaders, consciously and unconsciously.

It can be a benefit for some people, who prefer to off-load their responsibility in making decisions to someone else – a volunteer that can be used as a ‘scapegoat’ when things fuck up. You see and hear about this every single day – in politics, business and sport and life.

Headship means responsibility and initiative.

Headship is a responsibility to act in love; initiative to act in service to another. And who do you think is the greatest actor in Headship that ever walked this planet? I believe it was Jesus Christ. He demonstrated self-giving love and self-humbling service which gives us a whole new meaning and standard to the term “Headship.”

He truly embodied the qualities of servanthood.

So, to be true Leader, you need to take the initiative in building an atmosphere of loving, self-sacrificing service.

 

What’s you idea of Headship? What is your idea of what a Leader should look like? A Viking? A Pirate … maybe?

Taking on other’s qualities

Are you in a marriage?

It seems that marriage partners tend to become like each other, don’t you think?

After nineteen years of marriage with my partner, Cathy, I have deduced that there are one of two ways marriages can go. Based on my relationship and my observations of other marriages, either partners tend to become like each other and start taking on other’s qualities, or developing the opposite characteristics in negative reaction to the other.

Which way to you choose? Question is: are you still married?

Bowling night out with the Men of my gym
To Lead is to Serve

Real Leadership begins in the home

A person’s fundamental character is learned from the people he or she lives with in the early part of his or her youth, his or her family. Real Leaders are molded by the people that love them in the early years.

Real Leadership, begins in the home.

Leadership, I believe, is a function which should always be shared. I grew up in an extended family where Leadership was shared. That is what I adopt with my wife and nuclear family now.

I find when Leadership is shared in mutual respect for each other, it establishes a climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility. I believe this is part of the secret to my wife and I managing our relationship for nineteen years now. We’ve both changed in more ways than one since we first met but we’ve always allowed one another room to grow.

This climate of dignity, freedom and responsibility in turn creates an atmosphere which is both comforting and stimulating to both partners in a marriage. Do you share the Leadership function with your married partner?

And how do you know if this is what you have?

Well, shared Leadership is one where each is free to grow toward personal maturity and each partner is eager to see the shape of Christ forming in the other (see Galatians 4:19-20).

With Margaret .. the blind member of my Family Gym .. & her dog
Never forget – to Lead, one must have a heart to serve
I served this lady and her blind daughter (who I helped train for her first Paralympics in her teens).

Choking of communication and understanding is a cause of bad leadership

Where one party seizes power, or both the husband and the wife, both struggle for control, an atmosphere of competition and conflict results. The choking of communication and understanding is the fuel of this atmosphere. Even the unconscious assuming of power by one partner or the other will mold the relationship, perhaps in ways neither desire.

We’ve all seen this play out in the Hollywood movies countless times and some of you may have played it out in real life too.

When relationships break up, a common reason is there was a ‘break-down in communication.”

Leadership ability begins in the home … children learn character building in the home
Be the best character you can be … for YOU, first .. and then for your kids

Traits of a True Leader

Here are some ways you can become a True leader:

  • Put others first – being intentionally aware of others’ needs and being available to them
  • Confidence to give power to others – how we treat others is often a reflection of how we treat ourselves. How do you treat others?
  • Initiating service to others without expecting anything in return – the heart of true leadership is in the initiation of service
  • Not status/rank – conscious – your motivation to help others is paramount
  • Serves out of love – the quality of your leadership depends on the depth of concern for others

So, how do you fair in your Leadership skills so far in life?

More importantly, how do you learn to become the best servant you can be and as a result a Great Leader? A mentor once summed it up to me many years ago –

You must be little (seem insignificant) and serve all.

 

All the best to your Headship Role in life.

Cheers & Ahoy!

The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & what it means to be a Great Leader

Me, some of my quirks (showing off my muscles, posing at every and any opportunity and my desire to ‘over’ dress than to ‘under’ dress. Also, my quirk of love for dogs (and in particular, my pirate dog) and animals in general.

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S.H.I.T happens

Essential to cleaning up your shit in today’s world.
Don’t forget, no matter where you lie in the hierarchy of status in the world, you still sit upon your arse just like everyone else.
and … your shit stinks just like everyone else.
Even the Queen’s shit stinks

S.H.I.T happens 

I’ll begin my attempting to define SHIT. It could be –

S – Scornful

H – Heartbroken

I – Intimidation

T – Tragic

Every person is battling some shit.

Big and small.

Some people help others battle their shit but ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own shit.

I once worked in a job/profession as an External Consultant/Accountant and cleaned up other people’s shit, financial shit. Some of them were really literally swimming in and believing in their shit. Amazing honest-to-god shit!

There are many professions that have been created to help people get out of shit. And yes, we’ve heard that Shit HAPPENS…& you’ve got to learn from it.

A lot of bosses are.
Are you one of them?

I also cleaned toilets 🚽 twice a day every day for 7 years when I owned and managed my family gym literally cleaning 🧻 up members’ shit.(there is always a shit/boring part/element of every job that no one likes to talk about.

Action speaks louder than words, they say and my staff saw that I did what they did, too … that I also did what I wanted them to do. Because it was aligned with my business vision and my values and principles.

There’s not many CEOs/OWNERS of businesses that literally cleaned shit just as their staff did like I did. These are businesses where shit trickles down to the employees and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Awful shit, I call it, cloaked in special terms called ‘company policies’ and ‘culture’.

Shit comes in many forms, yes

But …

One ☝️ of the worst kinds of shit is the type that comes out of people’s mouths 👄

You know the type… the kinds that just simply

TALK SHIT.

Now, these types, my fiends, can be found everywhere these days and come in many forms, usually in the form of “opinions”

Not facts (based on sufficient & appropriate evidence) but simply … their opinion, just like their opinion of the best colour is blue and not red or green.

That kind of shit.

Generally referred to as BULL-SHIT (B-S)

Apparently, This is the worst kind of shit of all… from the mouths 👄 of people that roll out B-S.

It can come at you, anywhere and anytime but you have to be aware & prepared.

An ex work colleague told me once –

“Paul, your “bull-shit-o-meter” is very strong 💪

I replied-

Yes, and a lot of other things are strong too …. I smell B-S a mile away”

Ha ha ha …

How is your BS detector like, given the extent of BS and superficial stuff that has been prominent in today’s modern societies, we’re all experiencing it almost every day? There is so much BS every where you turn. How do people filter out the essence from all the BS? Like I’ve said in the past, you need to be a better manager of your funnel, your filter.

Anyways, take good care of your own shit as best you can and remember, you’re not alone… ask for help if you need help with your shit. 

I know, sometimes it can be very difficult to ask for help with shit but one of the courageous thing to do is to seek help with your shit when your shit is too much to bare/carry or if bearing it is unsafe because you’re UN-fit.

We all have our own cross (battles/shit) to carry just like Jesus had to bare (literally) his own cross (as our parish priest shared in his lovely sermon last Sunday), what I sometimes refer to as “Holy Shit”

Never forget that YOU are not alone… God is always there. He will help carry your cross with you. He will help you find a way, help you find your way. He will help you carry your shit, even if you’re a shit-head (like some people I have known and people who are known by people I know).

God is you and God is in every living thing around you. God is omnipresent, God is everywhere in this frame we call “Life” in this infinite universe & also in our every-day.

If you believe.

Be healthy. Be safe. Be Aware. Be Action-oriented. Adapt.

Thank you.

that is it … another poem for you

 

Cheers 🍻 & ahoy!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️⚔️Muscle 💪Monk 🤔😎

note: I’m going to get into deep shit/trouble for saying the vulgar word “shit” repeatedly above

To pursue your SHIT and never achieving it is far better than never having a go at your SHIT and living with regret forever.

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Three minutes too late

To lead is to inspire
To help create new leaders
To truly lead is to truly love 💕 unselfishly
I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’. The key to making and keeping any relationship is effective communication. This is easier said than done. It requires work … a lot of work.

That awkward moment after you say ‘hello’

Its all about connections.

Life is.

So is the operations of your brain, in what is called the connectome.

In my years as owner and manager of my family gym for seven years, many things contributed to having a ‘family’ culture within it. A big factor came down to not just the connections but the quality of connections. Between the members and most importantly me and the members and the various sub-groups within the membership.

It was akin to being the Prime Minister and leader of a party, with many factions within that party and also the existence of an powerful opposition leader and his party. An interesting, fulfilling and wonderful learning experience.

Whenever a new person walks in to the gym, I train my staff to greet them politely and to simply say “how can I help you?” What I find is the important moments following that initial interaction is that awkward moment after you say ‘hello’.

Communication in life is like a neuron connectome.
A neuron example and its network of dentrites
One of the 100 billions neurons in your brain that make you …
who you are.
Your are your connectome

Three minutes too late

We’ve all been there.

With the potential friend or the new boss. Your brother’s new girlfriend or just an attractive stranger at a party. I guess from my perspective there are two scenarios with social situations –

  • Make a good first impression
  • Just want to be liked

Three minutes too late or so following that awkward interaction that we reflect on and feel and think of what we should have said, instead of what we had said.

Would you take a magic pill if it would get your through that awkward phase after saying hello? Would you take it?

Find your light.
Conversations can take many turns. Key is to stay focused on a few lines of thought at a time.
Multi-tasking is a myth.

Drifting off

Have you drifted off after meeting someone for the first time?

What do you do? I think we all have found ourselves in situations, supposedly in deep conversation but we’re no longer listening to the other person and generally start talking to ourselves.

We basically, start drifting off.

 

Thinking thoughts like –

“What on earth was he thinking combing his hair into that hairstyle?”

“Am I making a positive first impression?”

“what am I going to take for lunch tomorrow?”

“geez, what’s that song’s name you hear on the radio this morning?”

“who the person you came with is talking to”

 

Staying focused on the person(s) you’re having a conversation with is key to connecting. Best.
And stay tuned alert to changes in topics but keep your destination clear in your mind.

The power of Focus

In my experience with owning and managing a gym for seven years and managing the relationships I had with the members in that time, there were many variables but I believe the key was focus.

The power of focus, in particular.

I interacted with members and listened to and talked to members from 5:30am when the gym opened all day until the gym closed at 9:00pm. When I was there, I was there. I was present. In every interaction I had with each and every member, I gave them my full attention (even when I was talking to multiple people).

The most important key to building rapport and trust in any relationship with someone … with anyone is focus.

That is the Power of focus.

This really helps in “connecting” with people – giving them the respect they wish for and giving them our full attention, however difficult that may be.

 

Focus on one thing at a time if you want to maximise results and chances of getting the result you want.
Connecting with people also depends on your ability to focus.
Giving them trust and respect.

The power of focus allows you to achieve results that you strongly desire. My power of focus allowed me to reach and place in the Top 5 of the World in Natural Bodybuilding in two consecutive years. Here’s a little formula for you: –

** Focus (mind-set/attitude) + Effort (hard yaka/work) + heart (feel) + visualisation (imagination) + sumulation (deliberate practice) =====> put in to a quality plan + quality implementation ====>> Results/Success **

Here are 4.5 key things I use when I want to focus on the person I am with –

1). Don’t judge

I just don’t have a habit of judging people. Period. I leave that to God, that is not one of my roles. However, I don’t mind a good debate and agreeing to disagree after hearing what the other person has to say first.

Putting aside any preconceptions and biases in thinking and having an “open mind-set/growth mind-set”, I allow the person I’m with to experience total focus.

Multi-tasking is stressful.
THe brain CANNOT multitask, it can only TASK-SWITCH.
Be kind on yourself and FOCUS on one thing at a time and …
do it once and do it well.

2)Find the excitement in someone even when they appear to be ‘boring’

Yes, this can be very difficult. Very difficult indeed. Especially, when you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to be having for your next meal or the episodes you still have left to watch on Netflix Game of Thrones.

All you can do is – try. Just try.

Give them your full attention and listen, really ‘listen’. What I mean is listen not only with your ears but your body (facing the person), your hand gestures not crossed, your head and eyes looking in to the person. And your heart, your heart should be listening too.

Then, find out something about the person that you find exciting and ask them, and hope that they would love to talk about that thing too.

Try. For God’s sake, just try.

Feel and practice feeling good positive, winning thoughts
Find something interesting in the person you’re talking with

3) Be part of the action and conversation

Especially in a group situation – ask questions about what happened and who was involved and what fears were felt and so forth.

Don’t stay silent, even if you have to nod your head, say a few ‘ahums’ and basically put forward a body-language that is agreeable.

It pays off in the long run.

Don’t stress out in social functions.
They are just human beings and make mistakes just like you
You should only be stressed if you had to connect with lions in a cage or gorrillas.
Relax. Your performance and ability to communicate effectively depends on this.

4.5)Mirror, mirror

Try to mirror or match the other person you’re talking with.

What is it, well, in effect, matching or mirroring is doing the same as the other person. This could be the same body language – she raises her glass and so does everyone else or same nod of the head.

Mirroring doesn’t only include body language, we also make similar sounds – sort speak in harmony with the other person, like “aha … aha, yeah” when we hear them say it.

So, in this world that has multiple communication platforms and social media that allows for increased connections, … is increasingly built on connections, it is not the number of connections that matter or continuously creating more connections in your network. No, I believe it is the quality of connections that matter most.

It is about getting back to the basics and doing the basics properly. Reminds me of building and keeping quality lean muscle mass and training with the basics in the gym. Nothing fancy and not trying to include every new ‘fad’ exercise in your repertoire’.

Whether consciously or not, and it is usually “not”, when we are connecting with someone or keen to get on with them, we adopt similar postures and movements. And when this happens the other person is more likely to assume that our thoughts and emotions are similar so they tend to feel warmer towards us, almost regardless of what we are actually saying.

I experienced this every single day in the gym for the seven years that I owned and managed my own. It didn’t matter who it was, how old the person was, level of education or what level of society they came from, matching and mirroring body language helped me ‘connect’ with them better.

Don’t force it, just ‘go with the flow’ so-to-speak. And relax, don’t over do things.

You’ll be just fine.

Practise thinking winning thoughts.

Practice does not make perfect

No, Perfect practice makes perfect, was what one of my early coaches would tell me.

In other words, there is always an optimal way or right way of doing something very well. Understand what it is, learn it and then deliberately practice it – that way – ALL the time.

Not some of the time.

So, practice some of these key communication points in the mirror. Do it every day. Simulate some of the conversations you may have with people in social situations. Imagination is key … if you can ‘see’/imagine yourself doing something and acting in a certain way and you have practiced the right form/technique/way, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will make a great first impression and make a lot of connections.

Simply because people will be drawn to you and your mannerism.

First impressions, matter. Remember: You never get another chance to make a first impression.

All the very best,

 

Cheers & Ahoy!

The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & why first impression is important in making you connect better.

Me my extended family members; a group of members of my family gym.
They all loved training and being part of the extended family that was my gym
Relationship take time to develop .. just like an Oak Tree needs time to grow

Connections with humans of all ages is important for one’s own personal development.
Try it.

The old Captain Viking Pirate 🏴‍☠️ ⚔️Enjoying a beer 🍺 in a hot 🥵 spring day here in Sydney Australia 🇦🇺

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Loving your Wife (or Husband’s) Quirks.

One of my many quirks – my Old Captain Viking Pirate persona

After almost twenty years of being together and over seventeen years of marriage, I’ve discovered many things about what I cherish about our relationship. One of the many things that I love is my wife’s quirks. Habits that are unique to her. Its funny, but in the same manner, her most endearing traits can be (at times) my greatest frustration.

You see, Cathy is a spreadsheet and ‘to-do list’ individual who is World-Class at being a senior Financial Advisor – precise, exacting,  not some of the time … all the time. Me, on the other hand am a risk-taking, follow-your-heart kind of a person, an entrepreneur – impulsive, expressive. Kind of like a Pirate Captain.

Another quirk of mine …. my love of the sea –  the old Captain Viking Pirate Muscle Monk

Some things in life come to you quickly and some comes slow, with time and patience. It has taken me a little while to realize that many of the fussy, overly meticulous things that Cathy does are actually acts of love for me. Her attention to detail is amazing. I couldn’t have represented Australia at two successive World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, two years in a row, placing in the Top 5 in the World without her. Without her attention to detail and skill for accuracy and completeness.

In our day-to-day life, her quirks just makes life more efficient and effective and therefore more enjoyable.

For example, when I go out for grocery shopping I don’t usually make a list (I have tried making them) and I actually like trying ‘new’ things and enjoy the experience of shopping. Cathy on the other hand, prepares a list, which I don’t strictly follow. Usually. But, the point I am trying to make is that she takes the time to do the list and she does this with love.

My quirk of love for great design in – vintage cars, watches … etc

That is a quirk of hers that is fantastic but is also frustrating.

I’m sure she would say that I have quite a few quirks of my own. Things like making sure that the locks on the door is checked when I leave the home, to ensure that my wife and children are safe. She could probably write many other quirks that would most probably be embarrassing because it would make me appear very vulnerable and naked.

But not to her.

These are quirks that she has allowed me to do for all these years that I have know her. Simply because she loves me. I’m sure you could look at your quirks that your wife or husband has allowed you to get away with too.

What a wife. What a best female friend. What a woman. What a human being.

You see, my wife loves making lists of almost every thing. I don’t. That is ok. That is the “yin and yang’’ of our relationship. That is what the balance is of our ‘69’ and has contributed to the success of our almost twenty year relationship so far.

One of my quirks … walking around places with very little clothes on .. ha ha ha !!
Here I am Working out in my gym during a photo shoot

The very quirk of mine of not living by written lists is very obvious. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have them. You see, I just keep the most important lists in my head …. My heart. And I live by them.

From my perspective, the most important thing in my eyes and view of life is that … even though I am guilty of going through life without making lists, I know and she knows that … SHE is on my list of Life.

She is and always has been on my List since the first day I met her.

Everything I have ever done and everything she has ever done and wants to do, has made my (unwritten) but what I call my ‘heart list’. It may not be visible and tangible as the myriad of lists that she makes and lives by (her quirk) but the list (my heart list) is there. It is present, always. Unseen to others, but seen by me … and demonstrated in my actions and words.

That is part of what makes each of us, who we are. We are ONE but we are Separate. We are a union but we are individuals. With and without lists, we have found a way. It is neither the Right way or the Wrong Way.

It is just WAY.

OUR WAY.

World Natural Bodybuilding Championships – New York, USA.
Standing with middle-weight (my category) and overall World Champion.
Me – 4th placed in the world
Competitor beside me – 1st place and World champion
Right: My Team Partner and wife – Cathy. (She has had to live with my penchant to pose at every and any opportunity I have for almost 20 years)

I love her quirks. Always have, always will.

I hope she loves mine too. I know she does. We wouldn’t be together still, after all these years otherwise.

We wouldn’t have done it any other way.

I thank her for tolerating my quirks all these years. Bring on the next twenty years, I say.

That is my wife, my Cathy for you.

Loving my quirks and weirdness all these years.

Even the recently appearing … character … The old Captain Viking Pirate … ha ha ha !!!

 

Cheers & ahoy!!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & spouse’s loving their partner’s quirks.

My quirk to pose everywhere and anywhere

one of my many quirks – my penchant for never sacrificing form over weight in the gym & practising safe exercise technique all the time. Not some of the time.

Doing and being is essential to muscle building success for your health and muscle goals.
Connect the two. Make them one.
Vv.
Another quirk of mine : my need to teach and mentor and help, help people, help themselves find their best selves.

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