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17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

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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)...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is it Annoying or Important?


I have a vision issue sometimes.

I get “annoying” confused with “important”.

Someone doesn’t reply to an email on time (or at all) – it’s annoying and it occupies my mind constantly sometimes to the point of extreme frustration. It’s clearly annoying to me.

Is it important? Not always. The very fact that I’ve found it annoying has pushed it to the top of my mind even if I’ve got far more important things I should be focusing on.

So what’s the solution? I wish I knew!

My logical brain knows when something is less important, but apparently at times, annoying trumps important. Fury trumps reason. Rage trumps logic.

My solution for today – and I just read it in an email from www.mydailyinsights.com

I’m going to concentrate on the power of two words (neither of them annoying, both of them important).

Those words are: “I am”.

Today – I am…
            …. Going to prioritise important
            …. Going to focus on important
            …. Going to learn to downgrade my attention on what is annoying but not important

What are your “I am”s for today?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Place for Pride



We’ve recently been recruiting at Elephant Property. I both love and loathe recruiting – mostly because I know important it is to find the right fit (culturally and attitude wise). It’s exciting when it works and you recruit someone amazing who becomes like a new family member but it’s always sooo time consuming to find that right person and as we all know, it’s an art, not a science.

I have a stupid name I’ll freely admit it. “Kirsty”, easily spelled incorrectly. “Dunphey”, even easier to miss or change a letter. All applications come directly to me and typically if my name isn’t correct they’ll go into the no pile straight away.

Mean, nasty, cruel of me? Maybe. But 80%+ of our client contact here at Elephant is via email or letter – we have clients and customers with far stranger and trickier names than Kirsty or Kristy.

So this time around during our recruiting I got one application that came through addressed to Kristy. I didn’t disregard immediately and instead read through the application and, based on their (very) relevant work experience I put them through to a first interview stage.

At the end of their interview I asked the applicant how they felt their attention to detail was. “Oh excellent” was their assured reply. I told them that I’m sure it was in most cases, however there was something on their initial email application that almost prevented them from getting an interview, something really relevant when it came to email contact. Their face was downcast, horrified almost, as I knew it was and they assured me they’d go back to their car and look up the email. I asked them just to let me know their thoughts after looking over the email.

That was 2 weeks ago and I haven’t heard a peep from the applicant since then.

Perhaps they couldn’t be bothered looking at the email to find out the issue. In which case, it was an effective screening method on my part.

Most likely – the applicant went, searched that initial email and couldn’t find the issue and was too proud to come back to me and say they’d looked but couldn’t find it.

Sadly, they’ve done themselves a disservice if that’s the case. I get that we’re all human – that we all make mistakes. If we employed this person no doubt they’d make mistakes frequently (as we all do) in the role. What would be inexcusable is if they couldn’t own up to their mistakes.  Either way, I’ve got my answer here.

Wish me luck on our new team member!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bald-faced Bully


Her reaction was guilt, concern and furrowed brow disappointment in herself. She forwarded me an email sent to her by a “respected” and much older industry colleague from another firm.

As I’ve taught her to when she wasn’t 100% sure on something, my junior staff member had drafted a response, but wanted to run it past me first.

As I read her responding email and then scrolled down to read the email that had prompted it my blood boiled in my veins.

Scrapping her response I lit up the keyboard with my own to the bully which said – in fairly plain terms, back down, stop bullying my staff member and do what was asked of you because it was perfectly reasonable.

I haven’t had a lot to do with bullies in my life – I’m lucky for that and in this case, the bullying wasn’t directed at me, but at a young staff member in a (sadly successful) attempt to make her feel bad, small and less than for a perfectly reasonable and professional request that she had made on behalf of a customer.

The bullying was uncalled for, it was unnecessary and I’m dumfounded as to why someone like this person would feel the need to do it to someone 20+ years their junior.

What I’m also sad for – and I have to take the blame for this, is that I haven’t embodied my staff member with enough faith in herself yet to recognise this as bullying and to have come to me straight away rather than feeling bad. That’s a work in progress for me. 

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 6, 2013

One of the best lessons I learned – and I learned it at 10


Not only was she the smartest person in her school, but now, surely the smartest in this room.  Her arrogance knew no bounds.

She was me and I was 10 years old.

I sat in a room filled with other kids my age all of us trying to get a scholarship to a private school. Not only was I sure I’d aced the test, I finished every section first and made it known I was finished. There was even an answer or two (on the standardized multiple choice test) that wasn’t correct in the booklet – not to worry I simply wrote my own. Double checking my answers? No need when you’re sure you’re right the first time.

Not surprisingly I was not awarded a scholarship in that year. And that crushing defeat (I’d rarely been denied anything academic before then) was exactly what I needed.  Had I got a scholarship that year I might have spent the rest of my life thinking as I had done that day.

Instead, the next year, at 11 (grade 6 for those reading in the Australian school system), I sat in the exam room a changed person. I didn’t care about finishing first, or who knew it. I double, triple, quadruple checked every calculation and every answer. Oh – and I figured out that if my answer wasn’t on the multiple choice answer sheet that I probably didn’t have the right answer.

Months later when the results came in my parents handed me an envelope. I remember clearly reading the results and then calmly walking outside Sullivan’s restaurant (on the main street of Deloraine, Tasmania) and screaming as loudly as I could at the top of my lungs as excited as I'd ever been to read something (the screaming was much to my parents horror).

I took the lessons I learned at 10 in with me to every exam and test thereafter and I wouldn’t have learned them without going through some fairly mortifying and crushing defeat. What’s defeating you now to transform you in the future?

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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