Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sticks and stones may break bones but words……..

As we head towards our walk on the 10th of May, highlighting violence towards women in particular, acts of violence seems to be an issue on the rise. The Chief Commissioner made a statement a few weeks ago that there would be 60,000 reported cases of violence towards women this year, and I dread to think what the unreported number is.

This cause has highlighted for me how violence in our society seems to be on the increase. And we are just not talking about physical, but emotional and verbal also.
I reflected on three recent incidents in Melbourne where individuals on public transport, who were clearly driven by hate, went on tirades. If you hear the video/audio footage of one of them it is quite appalling. The only good thing was that none of these ended in physical attacks and I would assume these individuals may end up in court.

I wonder what makes people snap in this way? How much hate must they feel towards others to make them actually verbalise it publically?
Sadly this happens in all societies, often against those who are seen as different or belonging to a minority group and often for no real reason at all.

Only last year we saw the increased number of attacks on cab drivers, particularly Indian drivers, and the impact was felt at government level.
My Indian parents lived here in the early 60’s and it was a time when the White Australia policy was well and truly alive. Often when they got on a bus or train as my mum says the “white” person they sat next to often moved. This was a culture that existed in the Australian society which at the time was sanctioned by the government. Even to this day my mum feels intimidated to some extent by her past experiences.

When I first moved here in 1982 I faced issues that caused me grief at the time. I was an easy target for fellow students in my boarding school. It did toughen me up, however I know of others who were in similar situations and unfortunately had breakdowns because of it.
I remember in the late 80’s going to Victoria Street for dinner and we played spot the “skip”. We thought we were really cool being one of the few mixed couples that went there. Now we see Australians there who are clearly in a mixed relationship.

My kids are of mixed race and we often joke “halfies” are the best, (they certainly are good looking!).
This country at some point in its journey will be lucky enough to have a large number of “halfies”.

Even though we have diversified as a nation, it still seems that being different- whether it is your colour, looks, disability or being alternative- has a price. The stigma is born out of ignorance, lack of understanding, fear and hatred.
The danger I believe is when the lack of understanding, fear and hatred becomes so intense it turns into nasty attacks that have tragic consequences for all parties.

This ugly element will always exist in society and it’s up to us to constantly stand up and say violence in any form or of any type is not ok.

I want my “halfie” kids and those who are seen as different or alternative to be able to feel safe where they live, work and play.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Do you have the guts to leave the herd you currently hang out with?

Before you read this blog take a few minutes to rate yourself on the following:
o   Are you dominating your market place?

o   Are you seen as the best – the Mohammed Ali of real estate in your office?

o   Your market place simply cannot ignore you because you are that good?
If you have answered no to these, ask yourself:  would you like to be? Of course you would, who wouldn’t. The question then becomes how do you get there?

The answer is surprisingly quite simple. Cut out your excuses and increase your actions!
You can make excuses or you can take action what you can’t do is both.

Excuses are really easy to find and then even easier to convince ourselves that it is reality. Excuses are actually lies we tell ourselves, often from a base of fear, which ultimately impacts our performance.
To lose weight you need to go to the gym, eat healthy and maybe drink less. However how often do you find yourself making excuses? “It’s too cold, I’m too tired, I have too much work, I’ll start next week, I have too many dinners out this week etc!”  I know I have a bag full of them myself. (I can’t wait for that magic diet pill to be invented)

Here’s the thing, to be world class or the best at anything, you have to stop making excuses and working below the line.
Real estate is a numbers game. To be successful is really quite simple and it has absolutely nothing to do with the market.

o   Make more calls than anyone else

o   Work twice as hard as your competitors

o   Become the agent of choice

o   Be the best at what you do – the Picasso of real estate
There is a reason why only a small % of agents in our industry are at the top of their game. They are more disciplined and focused and do the above really well.

The majority of agents hang out with the herd that believes being mediocre is OK. In fact this herd has a cult following with many members.
The best thing you can do right now is to make a conscious decision to exit this herd, find those agents who are at the top of their game, go hang out with them and do what they do.

Successful people in any industry have the mindset and grit not to give up, regardless of the hurdles they hit. Your journey to be the best and to be excellent will have many hurdles; find the grit not to give up. When you get knocked down, get back up and go harder.
Iconic businessmen such as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Bill Gates all have grit.

Have you ever seen a race horse with blinkers on running down the straight at Flemington? The reason why they have blinkers is so they don’t get distracted by what’s going on around them.
Too many agents run the distraction model, end up being part of the mediocre herd and then make excuses which they start to believe as to why they are there.

Set yourself a vision of where you want to be, how you are going to get there, love every minute of the journey and make sure you have the single minded focus and grit to get there.
People don’t get lucky with success; you create luck by not giving up and sticking to your plan no matter what.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Let me marry who I love!

The New Zealand government has had the courage to legalise gay marriages becoming only the 13th country in the world and the first in the Asia Pacific region to do so. The vote was passed 77 to 44 after a two hour debate on the matter.
What a shame that Australia doesn’t have the courage to do the same. In fact this will now potentially become an election issue with Gillard refusing to budge on legalising gay marriages in Australia.

I guess having a number of friends who are gay I don’t see why they do not have the same right as I do to get married, make a commitment and declaration of love to a partner.
What gays are asking for is recognition by governments on their status not religious acknowledgement. In fact when was the last time any of us from any religion followed by the book what has been written in our scriptures?

Surely part of modern day Australia would be to legalise gay marriages? So now thousands of Australians will fly three hours across the ditch to get hitched creating a tourist boom in New Zealand.
Will this new move by New Zealand serve as an eventual game changer in Australia? We are quiet closely linked and we often joke the NZ should simply become another state of Australia.

There was a failed attempt to legalise gay marriage last year in the Australian parliament when Ms Gillard opposed the move and the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott refusing coalition MPs a conscience vote. Gillard has been quoted as saying that gay marriage is against her upbringing. As the Prime Minister what her personal views are not relevant to decisions that are taken that impact this country. Just as a good journlist will simply report the facts and not let their personal opinions or feelings impact the story.
Abbott is just as bad being quoted as saying that he sees marriage as traditional union between man and woman stating that this was also his party’s position. Really Mr Abbot why not take the conscience vote then to prove it?

It frustrates me that parliamentarians are taking a decision on this issue, since when have they become the keeper of morale standards and what is or isn’t right in the community in regards to marriage.
Personally I am tired of hearing all the arguments against gay marriage. The “because I said so or believe so” rhetoric from our politicians is becoming lame and starting to look rather pathetic.

We need to evolve and move with the time. In fact there was once a White Australia Policy in this country. My parents were impacted by this when they tried to migrate here. Why because they weren’t the right colour! Yet we evolved from this.
The right for gays to get married will happen in Australia, it is inevitable. However it will take a courageous politician to make it happen and clearly we don’t have one yet!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Iron Lady

Tomorrow marks the final steps for Margaret Thatcher, an amazing woman of her time. Like or dislike her Thatcher was an extraordinary woman who was driven, passionate and focused with single minded determination.

She polarized a nation, in life and death, but history will treat her as a great leader of her time.
The influence she had for her time was far reaching creating major domestic reforms that altered Britain.

The Iron Lady ruled the UK for 11 years and remains the longest serving Prime Minister for Britain. She took over a rundown nation and produced a leaner government and prosperous nation by the time she left.  
She was tough, of that there is no doubt. The only female PM to date in Britain but interestingly she apparently found feminists annoying.  I recently read that her view on women wanting to make their mark on public life was simple:  The odds are stacked against women so they have to show they are better than the men.”  Many women would say that this is still the case today. Interestingly, she only ever appointed one female cabinet member during her time in power.

She was passionate on what she believed to be best for Britain; she built great relationships with her allies who underestimated at first but quickly gave respect. Her speech attacking the Soviet Union earned her the Iron Lady tag.  It was coined by Captain Yuri Gavrilov in 1976 in the Soviet newspaper Red Star, for her staunch opposition to the Soviet Union and socialism.
It is now a popular term to describe female heads of Government of which there are very few. The term simply means a “strong willed” woman. Perhaps many of us in business should also be nicknamed iron ladies.

It simply amazes me that in her death there are people who will celebrate her passing through burning effigies and singing childish songs. It shows a total lack of respect for the person and what she achieved.
Like or dislike her, one cannot ignore the successes she had over her 11 years; Falkland’s, privatisation that saw the emergence of brands such as Virgin, control of unions  to name a few.  Yes she perhaps could have been “softer”, but would being simply more appealing have gotten her the same results?

We talk about glass ceilings in 2013. I suspect Thatcher had layer of concrete ceiling to deal with which she tore down with her bare hands.
She fought for respect from her own party, the opposition and international leaders like Regan, Gorbacov and Kohl. To some she was the “Iron Lady” and to others she was simply “that bloody woman”. The response to Thatcher proves she had no qualms with being provocative through her cutting edge policies. She also used her femininity to her advantage. This fight for respect and lack of shame about her gender are admirable leadership qualities- other world leaders have done far worse.

I personally admire Thatcher’s qualities. They are qualities that enable you to shoot for the stars and actually get there. She will always be on my list of people to have around a dinner table.
Greatness is an uncomfortable quality. No matter what people say about her, Thatcher was great. She will be remembered not just for being a woman, but for the woman that she was.

Apparently what mattered to Margaret Thatcher was how history was going to judge her. I believe that history will be kind to her. We shouldn’t dare do otherwise.