The ONE Thing

The End is Nigh

I am re reading ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller as the end of the year approaches. The simplicity of the concept of doing One Thing well is profound and a key life learning I have adopted in my practice.

In short, if you could break your life down into your priorities of spiritual, physical, finance, relationships, work and said “if I did one thing every day that contributed towards achieving that goal” – what would that one thing be?

Rather than a complex list of goals or tasks or priorities for the New Year, what about One Thing?

There is delicate space between rejoicing and regret. It is measured by the things we did or didn’t do. I would encourage you to consider what your ‘one thing’ might be and begin the year with the possibilities of achievement clearly in your sights….

Cheers 
Andrew

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Dads parting gifts

It has now been a few years since my dad passed away. It is an extraordinary task in life to deal with saying goodbye to anyone special and my dad was no different. As I reflect I share with you the six parting gifts he left with me which I hope may mean a little something to you?

Active participation – There is only one failure in life I believe we can make and that is the failure to participate. Dad was never one to sit back and criticise others. He was the man in the arena actively doing things right to the end. He was an incredible visionary with a gift for seeing numbers and into the future when many of us aren’t able to see in tomorrow. From his participation in life I am encouraged to be active in everything I do. Life is not about sitting back and giving people a hard time but moreover if I see there is an opportunity to do something better…get involved and fix it.  

Have time for a funny – Dad taught me that even if your world feels like it is tense and falling apart at the seams, a joke or a funny reflection always makes everything a bit better. I find that making light of things helps me and those around me get through…Dad was my model for a funny moment.

Don’t sweat the small stuff or the BIG stuff – Dad through living his life taught me a patience which you can’t grab off the shelf. He was never angry or raised his voice. He didn’t worry ….he may have been stressed many times but through his calm quiet and caring way he would always see a way through. I watched him face several significant adversity’s and adversary’s and he always come through. He made it look easy which was an inspiration to me and many others who knew him

Give it away –  Dad was a giver and a contributor. He gave of his time, his wealth and his abilities freely to anyone who asked. There are countless stories of family and friends and people in the wider business community whom he gave of his time. Through dad I have learnt the power of contribution and what it means to give. Through dad I have learned that the times i am operating at my best and my joy is truly complete is when I am active in the service of others. That is when dad truly thrived. I realised through knowing him it wasn’t about the title or the job or the money. It was about contributing to something he felt was worthwhile and being the best you could be at it so in the end he and everyone else could benefit from that. 

Take time for the most important person – To dad this person was my mum! He may not have said it in so many words to her but I know that the simple things in life were everything to dad. Sitting watching a game show on TV, sharing a funny story, going out for a coffee or sitting in the front room in watching the sunset. Who is your most important person?

Run your own race – There is no question my dad ran his own race. He ran it to the full and he had a wonderful life. He touched many people and he made the world a better place by his contribution. He had that determination of spirit and an exceptional focus about him. He was incredibly flexible in his attitude and would openly say there are two ways of doing things…You can do it my way or you can do it Kerry Hoggard’s way. Dad always worked best with a committee of one…. dad.

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George used the Force to push through.....

You are trying to write a movie script and for days on end you sit looking at a blank piece of paper and only manage to write a page a day?

The batteries in the robots you created were dead and refused to work?

You lose your best special-effects guy on the shoot and can only do half of what you had hoped for knowing the scenes will only be half as good as what you had hoped for?

The eighty-four-day shoot ran twenty out-of-control, expensive days over schedule?

The studio you had hoped would back you showed little or no interest and didn't believe in your project, claiming the genre was dead?

One of your main actors kept falling over and getting injured because he couldn't see where he was going in his robot suit?

You decided to kill off one of your big heroes as you started making the film and had to break the news to him?

Unexpected rain flooded the set and caused further financial damage?

Your main actors don't like your script so they ad lib and change lines without telling you?

You feel drained, exhausted and lack belief in yourself and the whole project?

What would you do... if, after all this, you decided to go ahead and make the film, and it would be called Star Wars and your name would be George Lucas?

As I skimmed through George Lucas’s autobiography recently, I was flabbergasted by how many setbacks he endured to bring Star Wars to the screen. It is one of many stories that could be quoted about those who had a dream and persevered to bring it to fruition. George Lucas was somebody who could see the end outcome in his heart. He knew how Star Wars would feel and look and sound while others around him lacked the same belief and vision. 

George Lucas was able to see his objective in his mind and didn’t allow the things directly in front of him to trip him up and cause him to stumble or lose his vision. It is so important to see your end in mind rather than tripping up over our immediate obstacles. Keep pushing through…. 



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Having the eyes for tomorrow

We all experience adversity in our lives. Hardships and difficult times wash over us in all sorts of ways and can affect the way we see our future.

Recently my family and I have experienced a trying time, and without going into details I found myself thinking about the change that occurred because of some news we received, which came as a shock. At first things looked dark, but today we're starting to see light and encouragement, and that this has actually been an experience that's brought us unexpected joy.

 In the midst of this trial I was in a café in Dunedin and noticed a young lady and her dad sitting near me. I felt an urge to speak to her and as they left the café I reached out and shared my story, which brought a few tears, and then the young lady opened up to me. She told me she had been to hospital with significant back pain and had just come from a CT scan and was very concerned about her future. We were able to share stories and I assured her that ‘having eyes for tomorrow’ will bring hope to her. She left with a smile on her face.

One of the central focuses of ‘Business from the Heart’ is the reality that we can all experience breakthrough in our lives. The picture I have on my business card is of a brick wall with a heart shaped hole in it. It reminds me every day that even if the wall in front of you looks too high and impenetrable there is always a way through. One of the keys I have found is to set my eyes on tomorrow. The setbacks that loom in front of us, even though they may seem monumental, are only momentary if you are able to have eyes that look for tomorrow…..



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Give and live....

Many of us remember the movie 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'. The movie is centred around a group of terrible children who won a competition to enter the amazing chocolate factory of Mr Willy Wonka for the first time. Competition and money can often bring out the worst in people. Violet Beauregarde in the story is a fine example. “Well, I'm a gum chewer, normally. But when I heard about these ticket things of Wonka's, I laid off the gum and switched to candy bars, instead. Now, of course, I'm right back on gum. I chew it all day, except at mealtimes when I stick it behind my ear” said Violet Beauregarde. Violet was focused on one thing only - Violet! 

I recently spoke with a leading wealth creation specialist. His role is to maximise the income portfolio of some mid-range to extremely wealthy customers. He profiled two distinct type of customers. 

Firstly, those who live and breathe by their current wealth and thrive on creating more at every opportunity. Money seemed to rule their lives. 

The second type are those who have plenty of income but choose to give money away to help others. They are continually churning over in their mind how they can help and make the world a better place. These generous people ask for advice and guidance about charities that they can support and where they could make a difference. 

I noted with interest that his most pleasant clients where the ones who strived to promote the welfare of others through donations and by hosting a charitable attitude. The same group wanted a nice life for themselves however they also wanted a nice life for everyone else and a healthy environment to pass on to future generations. 

As my 'Business from the Heart' journey continues, I realise more and more it's all about people and our ability to give to one another whether materially or spiritually.

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Business from HER Heart.....

Meet Gina who runs a seafood restaurant where you can eat on the beautiful Weligama beach. Gina shared with me her story.....

As it turns out Gina was married and has four loving sons whom I can tell you are her pride and joy. Gina was in an unhappy marriage and one night moved away from her violent husband with the children and sought shelter with a male friend. In a fit of uncontrolled rage, Gina's husband attacked her with a very sharp knife slashing and severing the tendons leaving her partially paralysed in her left arm. This incident was enough of an incentive to leave her husband and now she works on the beach by day serving economically priced and delicious seafood. Gina explained to me that it is not about the price. Gina wants her customers to feel her heart when they eat her seafood. Utmost care is taken when her her all female staff prepare and present the food and the prices are incredibly good. Gina believes if her customers can feel her heart then they will come back and the money will take care of itself. The philosophy seems to work because customers are lining up to eat her wonderful fare till midnight every day of the week.

Gina is an overcomer, a lover of life and genuinely cares about others.....

Business from the heart in Sri Lanka #overcoming #businessfromtheheart #inspiringstory #customercare #heart

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A lesson from Jerry (an excerpt from Andrew’s book Business From The Heart)

In business I feel we don’t like to talk about the heart because it is difficult to rationalise around a board table or with the boys in the warehouse. It can be difficult to articulate matters of the heart. Our inability to express feelings means we often brush over them.  When Tom Cruise played Jerry Maguire, he represented a character torn between his intellect and his feelings. He didn’t want to allow his heart to direct him because he was so used to being the ‘shark in the suit’. The moral lesson of the film came when he allowed himself to feel how his customers felt and opened his heart and his mind to changing his life. It is a wonderful movie and a great life lesson

The huge learning lesson for Jerry the money hungry sales agent was that people mattered. It wasn’t about the profits or the size of the business, it was about personal relationships. When Jerry sat in his hotel room feverishly typing out his mission statement on his laptop he learnt the greatest lesson. The revelation to his heart after he had he lost all of his clients except one was that people mattered the most.

It was that one client who actually taught him the lesson that the key to business is personal relationships.  Interestingly enough the change didn’t take place until he embraced this thinking at a heart level. Coincidentally the growth and the profits followed after he made the greatest investment of all.   My assumption on Jerry Maguire and life in general is that that the greatest investment in life is thinking at heart level. Don’t get me wrong, we need our brains and hearts to work together. They need each other every day to do life.  Sometimes the priorities get mixed up.


Jerry had a revelation when the words of his mission statement became real to him. It was almost as if the words leapt from his laptop to his heart. Feeling for his customers’ welfare and seeing them as more than a number made a difference in the way he thought about them and saw them.


Thinking about doing life and business from the heart changes your perspective. Suddenly you find yourself considering new opportunities that could make a difference not only to you but the world around you. If you think about it, the desire to provide great customer service or care for others in your team is an intrinsic thing. We can all be encouraged by great leadership and a strong culture however I believe we all need to have a genuine inner desire before we start to change and make a lasting contribution to others. I believe it all starts with you and me and it starts in the heart.

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Walking down YOUR highway

In the last few months I have experienced two types of loss. They have been both personal and commercial loss and I write this not for sympathy, moreover to share my discovery’s along the way.

The first road sign I came to was letting go of the past. I realised that before anything new could take place in my life I needed to let go of hurts, disappointments, feelings of insecurity and many other things that I am sure we have all experienced. Letting go for all of us is extremely difficult and I do believe if we have nothing in our future plan it makes the past even more difficult to surrender….

This is where my second road sign that I came across that has been more meaningful and significant to keep propelling me forward. I realised that for my road to unravel in addition to letting go I actually had to make conscious steps to move forward with clear intentions.

Things that I found useful in doing this were….

Having somebody to talk to. It doesn’t matter if it’s your family, loved ones or a close colleague or friend. I think the key is finding somebody you can trust to confide your heart in and meet with them regularly or at least catch up by phone.

Making a plan. Coming up with your new direction and a great clue I found here was staying close to your existing network of people. Again they may be friends you grew up with or colleagues from the industry you are in? Who is your network?

Start walking. Each day make intentional steps forward into the new direction your heart is taking you. This may include research, talking to people or applying for new roles. If you do this you will experience the reward of moving forward. It is very gratifying to feel the forward motion urging you on.

And finally do things for you. I realised its ok to do things for me that were good for my heart and totally non-work related. It may be that walk along the beach, the coffee you deserve or the movie you have wanted to see for ages. You are important. Do things just for you and enjoy the reward!

I trust if you are having trouble letting go of something that these simple tools may be of use to you in walking forward with clear intentions …


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The Difference between DOING and NOT DOING....

I have watched ‘The Wizard of Oz’ movie time and time again and each time is like the first. I learnt later in life that this wonderful, timeless story shares an important principle that we can apply to our business and personal life. You remember the three main characters were saying that their lives would be better if only they had…..a heart, a brain, courage? How many times have you heard someone say, “If only I had …….” ? 

My love of film had me naturally gravitate towards a book about driving results through increasing personal and organisational accountability called ‘The Oz Principle’. The book suggests that we already have everything we need to reach our destination if we would only look within ourselves and rise above our present circumstances to achieve the positive results that we are aiming for. 

‘You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself’ - Glinda – The Wizard of Oz. 

If you pause to consider what The Wizard of Oz movie is really about, the moral is quite simple. Once the main characters get past their whining and moaning about the ‘if onlys’ in their lives, they find the answer. The scarecrow, lion and tin man each had exactly what they needed to reach their final destination if they only did one thing. That one thing was to look inside – to their hearts. It was there that they found their resolve to have the courage, the brains and the heart to reach their final destination. The simple question they needed to ask themselves once they recognised they had all they needed to reach their destination was, “What else can we do?” The same can be said of us as we sit around the meeting table at work. I can guarantee you that the collective hearts and minds in the room already have all the answers they need to solve problems and figure out a way forward, if they only paused to look inside and ask, “What else can we do”.

If you would like to talk more about personal accountability for you or your team please feel free to give me a call or drop me a e mail and we can talk some more.

Cheers Andrew

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Giving Your Best

The majority of my working life has been centered around sales of dental equipment – everything from consumable materials to large capital equipment.

One of the suppliers we engaged with sold a very expensive brand at the very top of the market. Their equipment had all the bells and whistles and was truly impressive if you were fortunate enough to get the full demo, as I was. A lasting memory I have of the dealer whom I worked with was that he always invested so much of his heart and mind into every customer. I’ve sat through trade shows - as all of us have over the years - and seen enough to observe what is good and what is clearly bad. The thing that forms my lasting impression of this particular supplier is that he would invest time with every customer, whether a student 2 years into her degree, or a mature client who had been in practice for a couple of decades. I recall his admirable presentation to students who still had years before graduation, and for over an hour he took them on the royal tour of his product.

Why did he do that? I believe it was because he saw everyone as a customer and also because he believed everyone deserved the best. Whether an individual could afford it or not he believed they deserved it!

On Father’s Day I took my son into a prestige car showroom in Auckland that represented Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Bentley. In a way we had a similar experience to that offered by my friend in the dental business. Dressed in our Sunday best of black t-shirts and jeans we hardly looked like customer material. However, the salesman allowed us to climb into a Lamborghini and feel the sensation of sitting inside one of these incredible vehicles. He invested time into us and made us feel great about his brand.

His only cost was some of his time, and he made us feel special. It begs the question; are we able to see the potential beyond today in everyone we have transactions with? Would it change the way we speak to them, treat them and our beliefs about them? Would it change our world?

The greatest investment we can make is in the life of another person. Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.

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If you build it.....

Field of Dreams is a magical film and is certainly one of my all-time favourites. The concept of baseball players from times past coming together to play ‘the game’ in a farmer’s field of corn captured the imagination of the world when it first came out. 

Tonight, as I watched it again, I drew more from the underlying theme of restoration in the film. What if you got the opportunity to apologise to your dad, make up with a lost love or make right with somebody you hurt is something everyone longs for I am sure? 

I met a barman who told me a story of regret about his own dad whom he had a broken relationship with. As his life unravelled over the counter he told me a tale of abuse from the bottle and words that had cut him deep over time. He was in no mood to offer forgiveness or even connect despite the fact that his dad was offering to give him half of a significant lottery win. My advice to him was regardless of the cash, go see him, he is your dad and you are his son. You have that in common. It is never too late to make things right…..

If you have the opportunity to mend a broken place in your life, do it!

If you build it he will come…..

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Empowerment

I was in my mid thirty’s and I was acting CEO for 18 months in a difficult time for the company.

The business had lost a major supplier which was going to lower our turnover significantly. As a consequence of this I was heading into a meeting with one of our suppliers with one of our product management team to let them know we were still in a strong trading position. I recall walking into the meeting with Rebecca as she turned to me and asked me a question….

“What do you think we should say to them Andrew”?
I turned to her and said, “I don’t know, what do you think we should say”? (because I really didn’t have any idea what we should say being new to this business)
She said, “I think we should say this”….and so that became our plan and it was a really successful meeting.

Years later Rebecca came to me and said "you remember that meeting we went into Andrew where you asked me what we should say"? I responded with a really clear yes. She said to me that was the most empowering thing anyone has ever done for me in my working life because I was able to decide for myself and you gave me confidence.

It reminded me that as leaders we don’t always need to ‘lead’ or ‘be in control’ of situations. Allowing everyone to succeed and fail on their own at times is one of life’s greatest lessons.

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A life lesson at the traffic lights

I was driving along a busy road in Auckland and pulled up to an intersection where a traffic light that had just turned red. I had a good friend of mine in the car and I let out an audible growl when I saw the light turn red. He looked at me and said “a bit stressed there are you Hogman” and I replied yeah, I am. He said “did you want to get through that light and now you feel stuck” and My answer was again a resounding YES.

Then he looked at me and asked the weirdest question. He said “what if the traffic light was actually speaking to you”? 

At this point I looked at him with the you’re crazy look. “What if the traffic light was giving you an opportunity to reconsider your journey”? “You may want to turn left, you may want to go right or you may want to turn around and go back the way you came”?

This lesson from a traffic light talking to me has provided me with a backbone to pausing and reflecting on my life, my decisions and my relationships over time and helps me particularly when I am looking ahead into an uncertain future to grasp the greatest clarity that I can before I make my next move….

Since that life changing discussion I now try to use every traffic light as my ‘pause’ and consider moments. Sometimes I look around at other people and wonder what’s going on in their minds however mostly I pause and think about where I am going and where I ‘should’ be going.

It was a little later that I hit a red light that gave me the opportunity to reconsider my life. In fact the red light was actually a brick wall. More on that later…

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Doing meaningful work

Years ago, I read the tremendous book Gung Ho which focuses on the meaning of work and understanding and embracing the contribution we all make. Watching a squirrel work demonstrates an important principle along these lines. The squirrels work hard to gather because they know that the winter is coming and if they if they don’t have enough food gathered they will die in the cold. Therefore, their work is important. The work however moves beyond important….it is worthwhile and they all understand it as being worthwhile. In the same way the work we do as humans has to be understood as important and then it has to lead to well understood and shared goals that are shared with our colleagues. The learnings we draw from this work will lead to the creation of values we agree on, creation of all plans, decisions and actions.

I have found that people have to understand what they do and how it contributes to the well-being of humankind. We do this by measuring the activity’s that we engage in people terms rather than by units. E.g. by doing what I am doing right now, what sort of impact do I have on the lives of others? The other important factor is to understand how the specific role we fulfil fits into the big picture and end result.

May we all live and work with a sense of contribution and live a Gung-Ho life!


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Whatever happened to Ebenezer Scrooge?

As Charles Dickens famous story concludes, Scrooge discovers life is not about money but PEOPLE. He finds in his heart that he actually cares for others. He cares for their financial circumstances and how they are physically. He finds a way to help the community and devote himself to good around him. He finds out that money is good for the good it can do.

His priority shifts! Where he once saved money and used people, he now uses money to save people. His priority with money now becomes to make as much as he can to help as many people as possible.

Scrooge discovers that a life lived on purpose is the most powerful of all and one that brings the greatest joy.

I have discovered that it’s never too late to become the person you always wanted to be….


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Half time in the game

I spent an evening humorously pondering the approaching big five 0 (actually I'm 52 but what the heck!!) with a few post teenagers and asking the big questions about life and the universe and what’s truly important. These were a few of the conclusions I came to that are on my priority list….Whilst 50 is probably past half time for most of us, I come to the following truths in living this life from the heart….

Cinderella’s mother was correct. Have courage and always be kind was her motto. It doesn’t matter where you are, whom you find yourself with at the time or whatever you may face if we can adhere to these two beautiful commitments all will be well.

No time for regrets. In doing good and living a life that contributes to others, I believe it is important not to carry regret about who you might have been or what you might have done. Instead I choose to focus on the possibilities and dreams of tomorrow and focus my energy into seeing as much of those dreams bear fruit and grow.

Give what you have….give your smile, your song, your kind word and share your apple pie even when it tastes really good and you don’t feel like it…it will always come back to you 

Try not to focus on what you don’t know. Set the eyes of your heart upon your mountains that you know you can climb and build up to the peaks that you never thought you could….eat your elephant slowly….it’s an elephant remember

These things may seem small however it seems that the big things that were once looming and important have shrunk back into a better sense of perspective. It’s funny how your world becomes smaller from when you were young and the things you thought you needed aren’t needs at all….

In place of them have become these beautiful simplicities of friends, family and the ones you love. The people and things that bring warmth and joy to your places in the heart….for the next half of the game I want to be surrounded in these things…..

In my sense of half time I regard these things deeply. Have courage and be kind.

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If only life could be a little more tender

There is a sad and striking truth that we of a certain age are entering into a season of goodbyes. It may come upon us as a gentle wave or a tsunami of tragedy. The recent passing of some of the more influential artist of our time is affecting many hearts and minds as we ponder our own frailty and humanity.

Heroes we have worshipped, artists who have shaped our lives and thinking and of course those villains and rogues that we also hold a degree of private admiration for will quietly leave us when we least expect.

What is the heart response from this? For all of us it will be different I am sure....

 I can only offer my morsel of thought. That it is our collective memories and warmth that we feel in our hearts as community journeying on without them provides us some sense of normality. It is the valuable life lesson of taking time to reflect that creates meaning and substance in all of this. Time to reflect on our own wins, our successes and our losses. The things we have handed down that will contribute to the betterment of others in the same way that these greats of yesterday have done. Perhaps these mysteries and questions unanswered are best summed up in the words of the poet….

The question O me!, so sad, recurring -What good amid these, O me, o life?

Answer - That you are here, that life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse

There will be songs we will not hear played live again. Canvas that will never feel the gentle caress of paint as the clock ticks slowly. Celluloid will keep what we hold and love as the last picture screens.

 Everything we get to keep will be in our hearts and memories. My encouragement to us all in writing at this moment is that we all take time to gather and reflect on our lives and recognise the contribution that we all make that is of value. After all that's life.....that's all it is....and it's a great gift...

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Planning an Escape Route

I have always loved movies since I was little.

One of my first films I ever saw was HR PufNStuf with my grandparents and I was hooked from there….

Over time all these celluloid memories blend into one….Rocky bounding up the Philadelphia steps, Luke blowing up the death star, Ryan Gosling kissing Rachel McAdams, Forrest and the feather, Tim Robbins and his amazing escape from Shawshank and my list could go on for pages….

Movie moments are great for me because I escape. I escape from everything else and I go into another place of dreams, hope and somewhere where my imagination can expand into things I hadn’t considered before.

In living Life From The heart I think we all need a little escape every now and then. An escape to see friends, to share a kiss, to enjoy a meal, to reflect, to hold somebody and so many more beautiful places in the heart.

What’s your escape? I hope you go somewhere truly rewarding and full of joy…..

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