Last Man Standing…

If we pay attention, regardless of nearly being offended or knocked out; we may just be surprised by our fellow-man.

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If we pay attention, regardless of nearly being offended or knocked out; we may just be surprised by our fellow-man.

So Black Friday has come and gone and thank goodness for that. See ya Felicia. This annual retail event is feature rich with “deals on deals” and videos of people literally going mad for things that are “cheaper than chips”. These “things” they probably don’t need and simply cannot afford, regardless of the seemingly giveaway price. Hence the madness. With that week behind us, shopping however is still continues.

One week later, on a scorching hot Saturday morning, it was time for shopping to raise its weary head again. Of course the question is why a week later? All the deals have come and gone. This is where my receipt disagrees. 1x pair of Asics Gel Nimbus 20, 1 x pair Asics running tights and a Compress Peak running cap for the same price of the running shoes on any other given day. Thank you Sweatshop Broadacres. But this deal is not what the story is about.

Relocate 5 km to another mall for my wife’s turn with shopping. And this is where I get nervous. Fast forward 20 min and all things are in the basket, checked out and paid for. And on our way we go! Say what! A woman shopping for a baby shower and it’s done and dusted in 20 min? True story!

So apart from being bedazzled by my wife’s new super power and high fiving her for it, the lesson of the day comes in the form of a rebuke. While we were walking to the car all proud of my wife, a noticed a couple with 3 kids. One child is crying and the other two look like they are pressing moms buttons all at once. The woman was buckling in the crying child and blocking our cars driver door. This clearly means, I’m unable to get into the car. I heard the man in a calm voice say to the woman, “we need to hurry as people are trying to get into their car”. The woman did not hesitate to respond with: “they can then wait”. In steps the rebuke! My immediate thought was that she clearly wasn’t aware of how close we were standing and that she was not a happy camper… obviously. Another interesting fact is that I didn’t see the man again. Think she ate him!

As I got into the car thinking about this, I heard a tap-tap  on the window and looked around and saw the same woman tapping on the car window with her nails. I feared for my life! But what she said next blew my mind!

As she leaned half out of her car towards our car window, with heaving breathing, exhausted but so calm said:” I want to say sorry. The kids are driving me mad today and being impossible. Of course I couldn’t bridle myself and said with a smile: “so that’s what I have to look forward too in 5 years time”. She smiled and we had our virtual hugs and kisses and we drove off into the sunset. Her with her rebellious kids, me with my wife and new running shoes already making new year’s running resolutions.

So what’s the point here?

It’s like the Wilder vs Fury boxing this weekend. Absolute chaos over 4 months leading up to the showdown. Fight night arrives and they throw a left, right, left, right, knockdown, get up and carry on. The bell rings and the boxers embrace. What?

Considering this woman; Its trying to understand her ability to transform from a chaotic emotional state to a rational mind in just a few seconds. The virtual left, right, left and right her kids are throwing at her all at once. Which leads me to another thought. How on earth do single mothers raise their kids and still be a functioning and contributing member of society? Consider the deep strength that needs to be drawn on everyday!

This experience can be unpacked & reviewed over and over again but I think we get the point. Being able to face the chaos in life, get knocked down and keep your head is how we get through it. If we can stand tall during the suffering time and again, we will be the last wo-man standing.

To this woman whose name I did not get. To you and all mothers, we salute you. You have taught me that even though life gets tough, don’t forget to display your values and morals in front of your kids. It’s then that we shine the brightest and teach them an unforgettable lesson.

If you find grammatical errors contained within, please assist & correct me to become a better writer.

Your comments and feedback is always welcome!

Milk & Screws

We have all seen that one person stick out head and shoulders above the crowd. Somehow its mesmerising or other times is just a false alarm. Depends what’s on the menu and what catches the eye.

Now, we have also heard, “first impressions last” or make that “first impression count”, Once again, it depends on what side of the impression you are on.

I’ve had the privilege to work with many CEOs & MDs that have positively influenced my life. All of them had many traits in common, one of which, they actually just cared. Nothing rocket science about that. All of that care, as their primary trait; has to a large part contributed to my success: both business and personal. Success in my case is “its ok to make mistakes but soldier forward, having enough money for running shoes and never slapping stupid people.

Anyhoo, about 11 years ago I was unemployed and finally got a call from a company for an interview the following Monday. I dressed up in my best suit, 2 sizes to big (i was much thinner back then), polished my shoes and walked shoulders back and chest out. Interview must have gone well (great first impression) as I got a second interview with the MD that Friday. And that’s when things kicked off…

Now for the record, when HR called me for the second interview, i EXPRESSLY asked about dress. Not wearing a dress, but should it be suite and tie or business casual. HR responded with, go casual. Evident to say, casual was not a choice I gave HR. So, playing it safe, business casual was my choice. Nicely snug between formal and casual.

The following events happened in a split second.

Walk into the office. See MD. See MD outfit. See my outfit. See the difference. And freeze.

I started the interview with an apology and throwing HR under the bus. Way to go big guy! The MD was dressed in suite and tie and looked like a million bucks. My outfit that I thought was a million bucks was reduced to R100. Hows that for deflation! I apologised for getting my business casual attire incorrect and the MD responded, relax man. Its cool. I wear suite and tie everyday. He then offered me coffee, I said yes (sheepishly) and then he walked over to the kitchen asking about sugar & milk etc. I said yes and yes and opened the fridge and handed him the milk… and that’s how I landed the job!

Say what???

Handing someone milk got me the job!!!

Turns out that the MD had a different approach to business, people and interviews. Also turns out he owned a carpentry business on the side that did shop fitting for large multinationals. One of his interview techniques for new carpenters was brilliant. He would take them to the workshop floor and stand around a workbench. On the workbench were 20 or so wood screws and he would, with slight of hand knock them all off. If the potential carpenter kneeled down, picked up all the screws and arranged them head-to-toe and handed them back to the MD, they would get the job. If not, the MD would let him know that they didn’t pass the interview, explaining why.

His explanation for this interview technique; the milk and screws, is to verify a person’s ability too “paying attention” when it matters most. That’s it!

Reviewing the interview; the MD always wanted to see if “we” not “he” was going to make the coffee. Turns out and thankfully so, I had my head on that morning and was paying attention. I saw that the coffee job wasn’t going to be complete, unless I handed him the milk. I mean, I was standing right next to the damn fridge. Give a brother some help! And the rest is history.

First impressions are not about beautiful red dresses worn to the ball, the ripped jock and his six pack abs (although that would be awesome) or the best candidate for a job. First impressions is about paying attention on a daily basis and being responsible to the person that chooses you to do great things together.

 

If you find grammatical errors contained within, please assist & correct me to become a better writer.

Your comments and feedback is always welcome!

Check in

Facebook sends us all kinda stats nowadays. Interestingly enough, one of the most liked posts I have received was when I “checked in” somewhere. Can’t actually remember where its was, but the most memorable “check in” experience was not when I checked in on Facebook. Its when I “checked in” to life

I have been fortunate to work with some great business leaders that actually “care” more about their staff than they do about their pockets. From my experience, their pockets take care of themselves when they focus on their staff’s growth, development and daily well being. Though this “care” is firm but fair, I have been on the receiving end of tough conversations that has assisted me with accelerated growth; in all areas in life – especially personal and work relationships. 

Just the other day, I had a “check in” experience with a rockstar CEO. I call him rockstar because of the humility that he carries himself with; regardless of his incredible business success and most certainly the humanness in how he spoke to me… genuinely wanting to guide a young man to focus on things that are responsible and have meaning.

The story goes…

With me turning 41 somehow raised a few questions about life. Not sure if it’s something in the water, or the way the earth rotates around the sun. Anyhoo, in steps Rockstar CEO and I ask for some of his time. He clears his schedule and takes me for a coffee and a toasted sandwich.

Long story short…

He summarised the past 15 years of his life with meticulous detail. But somehow the conversation seemed so short but richly dense with information. Definitely too intense for my life to truly grasp the gravity of his experiences from one sitting. I knew I would be making notes, reviewing, reflecting and then slowly with courage attempting to apply these life lessons. However, his conclusion made me realise that I didn’t have to duplicate everything he did. I just had to remember something, the most important thing while doing what I do on a daily basis. And his conclusion: life is not about what you do, it’s who you do it with?

Speechless!

This is one of those times, you just shut up and sit at the feet of wise counsel. Not his money, not his assets, not his reputation in the business world featured in the conversation. It’s who he did all those things with that matters most. The value that he places on humanity on a daily basis is what gives his live meaning and how he has become successful and maintains it. It’s about the journey with people.

So now what?

Beware of wisdom not earned – Carl Jung.

There are no shortcut strategies in life. The space between knowledge and wisdom seems self-evident; just as the difference between being clever and being real is a ‘thing’. These ‘spaces’ critically inform our thinking, speech, choices, eventual behaviours (Pershouse, 2018) and life’s outcomes 

If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business. People must come first!

Make people a priority in your life. It does matters how you speak with them and treat them. Thats were the most meaning in this life resides.

“Check in” to this life… not just into Facebook.

 

Pershouse, O. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beware-wisdom-earned-owen-pershouse-1/ [Accessed 10 Nov. 2018].

Back to the Future

Dont try change your partner

Back to the Future

1985 was the year that Hollywood frustrated the hell out of every kid with one movie; Back to the Future. I’ll get into the detail of the frustration later. The story is about Marty Mcfly;  a teenager who has a crazy scientist friend; Doc Brown. Travelling backwards and forwards in time over 3 movies.

So why the frustration?

In 1985 I was 8 years of age. You were about (insert age here)

The Nike shoes, the hoverboard, flying cars, fancy smancy everything and while changing things in the past & future. All the things any kid would desire. If I have lost you, you probably were not 8 years old in 1985. So to get up to speed, go and watch the movie to recap.

Anyhoo,

Who wouldn’t want to change things in the past? Imagine what (insert name here) would get up to with a time machine? Don’t even get me started with what I would change!

One thing I would not try and change is… my partner!

I learnt a hard lesson when I was 24 years old. I met a girl on a summer holiday down at the coast. What a party! Came back home and turns out she lived down the road from me. We started dating and the fun was short-lived. I acknowledge it was because of me. Insecurity crept in and what used to be fun… fizzled out like a rainy sunset. Just before it all ended, she asked me a question that becomes a life lesson today. “What happened to the JP I fell in love with?” 

Do you recall the “insecurity” I mentioned earlier?

What I meant to say was… I tried to change my partner? Generally speaking, our insecurities or shortcomings motivate us to change our partners. 

Do you remember when you first met your partner? How you just thought it couldn’t get any better than this!

Prior to meeting your partner, they went through life; shaping their beliefs, creating a value system and certain circumstances (good & bad) influenced their decision making and the way they do things. If they are with you today, all those things “chose you”. Now why on earth, would we want to change our partner?

Change is required where relationship goals need to be achieved. With every effort of value put towards that relationship goal, a sacrifice will indefinitely be the foremost cost. But a small cost in comparison to the outcome of your goals. Apart from that, let our partners grow, learn & flourish. If they are paying attention & thinking through this life, life has a way of being the best teacher.

Let’s be honest… we have all tried changing our partners and failed horribly.

So here is a question!

If you could back into the past; what would you change? But if you choose to change something at the risk of losing your partner; would you?

Leave changing the past to Hollywood while you live in the present!

PS: While I was writing today’s blog I was listening to “La Belle Mixtape – Time Travel”. Coincidence? Nonetheless, worth a listen. Lae Belle – Time Travel

run FATTY run

to be fat or not to be fat…

Look at him run. Just look at him go! All that running effort and it looks like he is standing still. Oh look… he came last… again.

Yip that was me.

Since I can remember, I was the short little fat kid that competed with last place in any and every race. Last to be chosen for a team sport. Always the ugly friend of the good looking boy at school. Even when I played spin the bottle; somehow that damn bottle would miss me everytime and I couldn’t get a kiss from the hottest girl in school.

What a life!

Thankfully that little fat kid has run 3 x 90 km Ultra Marathons and completed a Ironman and still runs for the joy of it… and got to kiss many many HOT girls. Seems like the fat just fell off me since then?

Ever picked up a pair of spandex, held them high and say to yourself… this my only friend at the moment? Whether you have not, it would be assumed that the other 99% of your wardrobe is currently your enemy.  This is large in part to none of your clothes fitting (we have all been there) and hence spandex steps in and fits like a hand in a glove.

A few days ago a girl asked me a question. If your wife had to pick up 20kgs, would you still want to be with her? This makes it the question all the more interesting because the girl is good looking, a health nut, never misses leg day and presents herself like a million dollars. All impressive!

Interesting question considering that 20kg weighs as much as a bag of dog food. Please know that the weight of dog food is not how I would make my decision!

So I slowly responded and said; your question is based on what society thinks of fat people. Not on the basis of values and morality. Of course she was visibly confused but then again who wouldn’t be. Society wants YES or NO answers. Society wants people to make decisions on the basis of personal looks. How they make you feel! How people stare at you when you have a HOT partner etc etc.

To calm her confusion, I said that being fat is not an issue of being HOT or NOT. It’s a matter of physical and mental health. Without a doubt, when people get into a relationship, we tend to get a little lazy because we are very cozy. I completely get that. However, becoming overweight because you are lazy is a health risk and will definitely place strain on your relationship.

The strangest thing is that just this past weekend my wife and I discussed the issue of weight. I explained to her that should we become overweight, ultimately our health is at risk. It’s got nothing to do with whether I want to still be with her or not. Physically, everything gets harder to do. Walking to the car, walking up stairs and even walking to make natures finest coffee in the morning. Because our physical bodies are taking so much strain, mentally, our brains become lazy too and we start lacking the motivation to do the normal everyday things.

All of this starts impacting the relationship. Woman naturally start avoiding friends and social gatherings. Summer becomes the worst time of year. Going to the beach is considered more like visiting nuclear disaster site. It just won’t happen. From a guys perspective, we just lean back and say: I invested a lot of money in this stomach. A stomach so big that we ask our friends if our zipper is up because we can’t see what’s happening down there.

I would assume (research according to a knee jerk response) that 60% of people never wake up and go: “Yay, today I’m going to eat kale, raw spinach, celery and lick the dew off the leaf of a avocado tree and tomorrow I’ll have lost 5 kgs” Nope, most of the time people make the change because of health scares and sometimes it’s to late.

My wife wouldn’t pick up 20kgs is the correct response. My wife chooses to be a blessing to me and her family through healthy decisions made daily. She considers her health as a priority and understands that poor health decisions become a burden on our relationship… short and long term.

Now we know.

It’s all about healthy decisions and not about being HOT or NOT! Spandex should be your friend in health… not because of health scares.

So just get out there and run FATTY run. And laugh about it! Always laugh!

PS: no one was fat shamed or poked with a stick during the writing of this blog

 

I ruined my marriage…

What is in a name?

There is a story doing the rounds, not sure how true it is, but it has an incredible moral lesson in it for us all. Let me tell it with less accuracy and more drama & humour. I’ll be sure to keep the moral compass flying high.

When Alexander the Great ruled, he was feared among nations. One day, when he was not conquering the known world and driving fear into his neighbours, he was in his castle resting. By resting, he had a drinking problem (this is fact) and probably kicking back on the couch watching Netflix – Love Island. While he just got into the series, he was interrupted by one of his guards. His guards walked into this lounge (picture that if you will) with a sentry in hand, who was caught sleeping while on the job. The sentry was thrown to the floor and visibly shaken from what his fate may be. Alexander the Great was known as a man for little time when it comes to excuses and failure.

With anger, Alexander the Great asked his guard why he would dare interrupt him watching season 1 episode 3 of Love Island? The guard responded with fear and great apology that his sentry was found sleeping at his post, while he was responsible for guarding the castle. After picking up the remote and pressing pause to ensure he missed nothing, Alexander the Great turned his attention to a man on the floor, stood up and never came close to towering over him. This is largely due to Alexander the Great being shorter than your average man (this is fact). He leaned over and asked the sentry; what is your name? The sentry with a fear filled tone answered, my name is Alexander. Your name is what? The sentry replied again, my name is Alexander. The other Alexander, the Great one was filled with rage and picked the sentry off the floor, stood him to his feet and yelled out… either change your name or change your conduct!

What is in a name?

Why do certain names have importance, while others get lost in history?

Why should people care about your name?

What in the world do names, Alexander the Great and a weeping soldier have to do with this?

Your name is linked to everything you say, think and do i.e. your behaviour & character or as Alexander the Great put it… your conduct! Hence, the “importance” is tied to some names, and “lost in history” for others.

Men with an ounce of ambition, walk through life with the purpose of leaving a legacy. This is a good thing. Legacy is broken down into various categories but you get the just of it. All of this is pointless, if you have achieved eternal riches, mega mansions, drive the fastest car’s, have the hottest blondes or brunettes as wives etc… but lost your soul along the way i.e. lost your name i.e. behaviour and character along the way!

Inheriting the world is a fool’s goal. Seek to inherit your partners heart and trust in your lifetime. Start there and the rest generally falls into place.

Be a leader of your relationship, day in and day out. Guide, nurture and make changes for the empowerment of both parties. Never give up developing good long lasting character, and behaviour that your name will live in the annals of history. Even if you are just remembered on a Facebook or twitter post for being the most incredible “NAME” someone had the blessing of spending time with.

Your name is important. Live up to it regardless of the challenge!

In conclusion, it is not as easy as it sounds, but living up to your name on a daily basis is easier than this one sentence. I ruined my marriage because I did not live up to my name!

Further watching on leadership:

Want to sound like a leader? Start by saying your name right by Laura Sicola

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02EJ1IdC6tE