Tag Archives | life

One Steamy Night In Bangkok and A Major Wake Up Call

A conversation in Phuket followed by one night in Bangkok have left my heart beating faster and butterflies in my stomach. I am now questioning the way I lead my life. I bet it gets you thinking too, and perhaps will leave you as unsettled as I am right now. Here’s why.

I am not sure this story will flow. It’s seriously eating away at me. And I hope- will eat away at you. Something good has to come out of it. Please.

Last week in Bangkok I was reminded of the death there two decades ago in a coup incident of Australian war photographer, Neil Davis. He’d led an amazing life, and died a tragic, needlessly premature death. But here’s the point. I was reminded of how Davis described his approach to life: it’s a magical philosophy:

Fish and Chips And The Secret To Success

As a new year begins, I have been reflecting on a burning question: what does ‘success’ really mean? And then I saw a movie where the lead actor gave me the answer. It really nailed it for me. And has given me a genuine insight that has changed my path. Here it is.

In recent years, and particularly since a health scare, I have been panicked by a lack of clarity around what ‘success’ means to me. I know it’s not about having more stuff, or more money, friends, power, status (or is it?). Maybe it’s about making a positive difference. Or is it around achieving one’s potential? Confusing. It has been causing me real anxiety.

And then Sven Baker told me he’d watched a movie, “Papadopoulos & Co.” It was playing on my plane. I watched it. “So- how do you define success?” the actor liquidator asked the failed business tycoon who had returned to his brother’s fish and chip shop. And his answer stunned me:

My Challenge To You: Your Life In Six Words-Up for It?

If you get value from Wrestling Possums, then I ask you to do me one favor: reply to this post. Inundate me with responses. What I want you to do though is a bit freaky. Be warned. It might confront you. I want you to imagine that you will die in ten minutes time. Here’s why.

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a book, but only in six words. He did it. “For sale: baby shoes; never worn.” That’s the power of storytelling. This apparently led a couple of guys who founded Smith Magazine to develop the ‘Six Word Memoir’ concept…writing your memoirs in just six words.

So, imagine you’ll expire (sorry about that) in 10 minutes time,. You pick up a pen to write your life story, your memoirs. But you only have six words to do it in. Give it a go. If you feel inclined, respond on the link at the end and share it. I’ll tell you mine. You tell me yours. Deal? Here’s mine.

What Happened This Week When They Found A Tumor In My Throat

“Yip- it looks like a cancer,” the specialist sighed, pointing to the video picture of the tumor growing out of my vocal chords.

“Treatable?” I asked, petrified. “Oh yes,” he replied. “But not necessarily curable.” This was last Monday. So began the worst week of my life. Here’s what happened next.

My voice had been getting increasingly hoarse for months. “Acid reflux caused by increasing size of your gut,” the GP had counseled. Then I struggled swallowing. And could only speak in a whisper. So to the specialist I went last Monday. He had the bedside manner of a cobra, found a tumor, speculated cancer, gave zero reassurance.

“I’ll remove it surgically if I can on Wednesday. Then pathology. If cancer, come to the hospital next Tuesday and we’ll advice treatment. If it’s early stage cancer, then likely more surgery and radiation. If spread, then chemotherapy too and a 50/50 survival chance. If spread a lot, then not much we can do.” And that was it. I walked out into the sunlight devastated. So began the five worst days of my life… days underpinned by one terrible thing:

The Toilet Seat, Crossed Wires and A Secret To Leadership

Something happened in my toilet once that shocked me deeply, and taught me a valuable lesson about life, relationships, and leadership. How could I have been so blind? Beware though- this is an ‘adults only’ Possums episode, with unsavory photographs. Read on at your own risk. My promise- the reward is profound.

“Put the toilet seat down!!!!” she screamed at me for the 20th time that week, and third time that day. I was livid. “You must be in La La land you crazy person- I HAVE and DO put it down and you have quite simply gone mad.” “ME? ME??? You’re the lazy, inconsiderate, uncouth animal who does not have even the most basic manners or respect to do the right thing. It’s disgraceful. I have had ENOUGHHHHHHH!!!!”

And so had I. “Ok- look here and watch this,” I snarled, standing over the seat. “Let me demonstrate, once and for all.” I did, and then suddenly realized the massive mistake I had been making. It’s a lesson in life and leadership worth knowing- and here it is.

Vidal Sassoon Told Me This Key To Success- Have You Got It?

Hairdressing icon Vidal Sassoon died a couple of days ago. To hairdressers, he was quite simply a rock star. But it was something he told me almost 20 years ago that I want to share with you today. It startled me when he said it, and the truth of it resounds just as powerfully today. See if you agree.

Vidal Sassoon – self-made, highly driven and from a grindingly poor background – revolutionized the hairdressing craft. His obituary in The Sydney Morning Herald read: “ An astute businessman, he made a fortune from his salons and products, and became a household name.”

I was having lunch with him during a promotional tour we were coordinating in the mid-1990s. I asked him about his success and fame. And it was then that he told me a simple truth that not only underpins my approach to my career and life, but is something I have shared with as many people as I can. This is what Vidal told me.