A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Friday, January 30, 2009


January 15th, 2009: exactly two months before my 30th birthday, was the day I first found “it”.

“It” symbolised everything I’d ever wanted when I started my first business at 15 and my first real estate agency at 21.

“It” represented “experience, knowledge, wisdom, understanding”. Almost everyone else in real estate had “it” when I first started.

If only…

… I’d had “it” at 21. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been mistaken from the receptionist so often.

… I’d had “it” at 18 perhaps I wouldn’t have felt the need to sell my beloved first car to get something more appropriate to be seen with the black BMWs.

But then…

… if I’d had it at 20, perhaps I wouldn’t have pushed myself in the classroom to learn so much about my industry so that I could show in my own special way that while I didn’t have “it” I still knew enough to be an industry leader.

… if I’d had it at 24, perhaps I wouldn’t have taken so many risks on my crazy ideas, many of which paid off so well and helped us earn our reputation as true innovators.

… if I’d had “it” at 27, perhaps I wouldn’t have made the decision some said was crazy and sold out of my group of 6 real estate agencies.

January 15th, 2009 was the day I saw my first grey hair. But, you know what… I’m glad I didn’t have it before now and I hope it doesn’t change the way I act in business now.

Despite “my age” being more traditional in the business arena now (with my grey hair to prove it) I still hope…

… I continue to take risks.
… I continue to feel like I need to go above and beyond.
… I continue to mess things up.
… I continue to be different.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

It’s Not You…It’s Professional

It’s not you it’s me… I need some space… I want to concentrate on my career…

I could go on and on with this list of corny overused dumping phrases, we’ve all either heard or said them, but what to say when you’re doing a professional dumping.

By professional dumping I mean rejection in a business sense…. Firing someone, not hiring someone, saying no to a sales person’s pitch. We really have an awful lot of professional dumping to do in the business world.

How do you do it so that you get your message across without having the dumpee despise you, key your car and run over your puppy?

Well how about this for a rejection letter:

We're sorry to say we couldn't accept your proposal for funding. Please don't take it personally. Despite the stock market crash we got a record number of applications this time, and the average quality was high. And since there's a limit on the number of interviews we can do, we had to turn away a lot of genuinely promising groups.

Another reason you shouldn't take this personally is that we know we make lots of mistakes. It's alarming how often the last group to make it over the threshold for interviews ends up being one that we fund. That means there are surely other good groups that fall just below the threshold and that we miss even interviewing.

We're trying to get better at this, but it's practically certain that groups we rejected will go on to create successful startups. If you do, we'd appreciate it if you'd send us an email telling us about it; we want to learn from our mistakes.

Y Combinator Staff

It’s from the team at www.ycombinator.com and I think it’s one of the more brilliant rejection letters I’ve ever seen. It’s humble and endearing yet it gets the message across.

I’ll definitely be rewording my “professional dumping” after reading this – how ‘bout you?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

As Unexpected As A Kangaroo?

As I sat this morning eating my breakfast cereal I saw a brown something move out of the corner of my eye. Investigating further I saw, not a cat, not a dog, but a kangaroo* making its way through my front yard.

I was stunned and scrambled to grab my camera managing to get this very un-Attenborough-worthy shot before my new furry neighbour moved along.

I text messaged my husband immediately with my exciting news. His response was much less excitement than mine. He’d seen this kangaroo before and in fact he was quite the regular in our yard apparently.

So something that blew my mind, was a non event for my husband because of his past conditioning.

Which lead me to compare it to the business world.

For the inexperienced, a disaster blows your mind. Could be… your best staff member leaves, your boss announced your redundancy, your major client gives you the flick, your company gets bought out… you’re a virgin kangaroo viewer and your whole world gets shaken.

For the person who’s been there and seen or done that. The disaster happens but it’s met with experience which lessens the impact. You’re the kangaroo whisperer (like my husband)!

So what can you to do become a kangaroo whisperer without actually having a kangaroo (or a disaster fall into your lap?)

Imagine the kangaroo
Spend a couple of minutes and write down the 5 worst things that could happen in your business right now.

Make friends with the kangaroo
Is there anything you can do right now to lesson the chance of any of those 5 worst things happening? Get jumping.

What would you do if there were a kangaroo?
If you can’t remove the possibility, you can at least spend a little time preparing for it.

If your “worst thing” is your biggest client giving you the flick how can you increase the service, how can you increase their loyalty. Perhaps you don’t even want to keep them at all? And there’s no harm at all in preparing for a worst case scenario.

Now don’t get me wrong here – this is a ten minute exercise, spending all day focussing in your kangaroos is dull, a little depressing and not nearly as much fun as finding one in your front yard.

* If this is actually a wallaby and not a kangaroo, forgive me, contrary to some of my US readers popular belief, I haven’t seen that many kangaroos and I’m certainly not accustomed to either kangaroos or wallabies bounding through my front yard!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Book Review - Business Stripped Bare by Richard Branson

To me, this book is a perfect follow on from Losing my Virginity and I enjoyed it more than Screw it, Lets do it. Yes, it’s a not so thinly veiled sales pitch for all things “Virgin”, but it’s also a fabulous insight into one of the more interesting business minds on the planet. Being Australian I was surprised at how much of an Australian focus there was with the tales about Virgin Blue and I think US readers would get the same feeling with the parts on the mobile networks there. There were times I cringed (Branson conducting a job interview from under his sheets in his bed) and others when I was super envious (mainly at the mentions of Necker Island) and more when I was in awe (this book conveys a far more philanthropic side to Branson that in his others). Easy reading and a great insight.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 has taught me…

Inspired by this post by entrepreneur Ryan Allis I’ve decided to complete my list of what I’ve learned in 2008.

1. Life can be too short. Despite being almost 30 years old I haven’t had to deal with death much in my life. This year however I’ve experienced it in a more up close and personal way with people in my life passing who 33 and 42. While they weren’t immediately family or my BFFs their passing’s affected me immensely.

2. Life can be too long… if you spend it without really living. My aim for 2009 is to continue to attempt to remove those things in my life that are negative, that get me down and that don’t help me live life to the fullest.

3. Life is full of love if you know where to look. The wedding I went to this weekend showed me this. I didn’t know either the bride or the groom prior to the day but I was awash with the emotion that spilled over from them. I also saw that it doesn’t matter where or how two people show their love for each other, just that they do. (Much love Elin and Tom)

4. It’s ok to stop doing something even if it was previously a big goal of yours. Thanks to Seth Godin’s the Dip for that.

5. It’s also ok to keep doing something even if you’re not exactly sure why you’re doing it. For me this has been finishing my MBA at university. After dropping out of my undergraduate degree I’ve always felt as though something was missing. Who knows if I’ve “peer-pressured” myself into getting a degree but – I know the feeling of accomplishment I’ve got going on right now (with only 5 days and one exam to go) feels pretty darn good.

6. I know what I’m good at (and what I’m not). I work well within time frames, I love deadlines, I love order and structure, I love jobs that have a finite completion or at least parts which can be completed, I love to tick things off a list.

7. It’s next to impossible to have amazing quality of life if you’re not healthy.

8. If you find something tiny that makes you happy –expose yourself to it as often as you need. For me this can be as tiny as watching my crazy budgie take a bath. My husband obviously knows me better than I thought which is why he insisted we put up our Christmas tree even though we were only going to be home for less than a week before Christmas. He knew that getting out each of our Christmas decorations and talking about their history was an absolute high point for my year. Loving this quote as well: "If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can't buy." – Unknown

9. Sometimes people won’t “get” me and most of the time… that doesn’t really matter as long as I “get” me.

10. Same same, not different. If you’re just going to be like everyone else – why bother doing it?

Things I haven’t learnt (yet)perhaps you can help?

1. Why do I talk in my sleep so much!? What on earth am I trying to say!

2. Why a cupcake excites me so incredibly, and yet a muffin is ho-hum.

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