Kindness - Loaning Someone Else Your Strength

My son shared Tyler this story with me last night....

This guy commented on my Goofy tattoo when I got on the train yesterday. I'm not sure of his situation personally he but he proceeded to tell me he was homeless and had nowhere to sleep last night. He had a bottle of booze in a paper bag, however I felt like I should keep talking to him. I told him about 'lentil as anything' (a local Sydney restaurant) and how he can get a free meal there any time if he volunteers his time. He didn’t have a phone and asked if I had a pen. I didn’t have one on me, but someone behind us was kind enough to lend us a pen for him and I wrote down the address and details. A school kid was sitting opposite us and then gave the guy $5 change out of his wallet with no prompting. The guy got off the train and he shook my hand, the hand of the guy who lent us the pen and also the young kid as he got off. As we all left the train we exchanged nods and a smile. We didn't need words as everything had been said.

It felt real good to give.

Kindness is infectious and powerful.....


Hope Outside Your Circumstance

I experienced a great learning around facing difficult times…It is about ensuring that the things we wrestle with, cause us pain and even conflict are kept at a distance from the things we hold out hope for.

In short it looks like this….Keep your sense of hope outside the situation you are in. When we are able to place hope outside of our circumstances, it means we are able to distinguish our hope from the things that we could get lost in. The reality of course if we get lost in something and take our hope with us we can unfortunately lose our hope also.

Therefore, If you find yourself in a landslide this week, keep your sense of hope outside the situation you are in.

Cheers Andrew

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I used to say to everyone I train in sales that a sale takes place when there is a transfer of enthusiasm. That is true, however I have now revised that to read a sale takes place when there is a transference of belief in YOUR product or service into the heart and mind of your customer. I have not met anyone who truly believes in their product or service to not experience success. People who exhibit belief can’t help but make sales. Of course, the opposite is also true. If we meet with a customer and they do nothing than we haven’t been able to successfully transfer that belief. The reality is thatIf you don’t believe in what you are selling you won’t find the success you seek. … you can try and build your belief but if you can’t do that then you should…do something else because the customer knows the believer!

Your sales and success don’t begin with being you being understood …it begins with you understanding the other person. Once you understand your customer and add your belief to the conversation and relationship, you can build intelligent persistence.

The secret to success is NOT persistence but it is INTELLIGENT persistence. 

Successful sales people don’t just keep on keeping on but building on past experiences. Thomas Edison – he never engaged in the same experiment twice. In each of his failures he found the seat of the equivalent benefit learned and it improved with each experience.

In short, enjoy believing in who you are, what you do and what you bring and learn from every mistake you make. Who knows, you may just create a ‘light bulb’ moment with your customers?


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Purpose and Priority

“Would you please tell me which way I ought to go from here?”

“that depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where – “ said Alice

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go” said the Cat

This revealing conversation took place between the Cheshire Cat and Alice in Lewis Carrol’s enduring tale. To me this is a wonderful example of how purpose and priority intersect in life and both are tremendously important! We cannot do without each of them working in harmony!

Purpose will always provide you with the knowledge of where you want to go and why.

Priority will help you determine what you want to do when you get there.

 At the start of each day we have a choice to ask ourselves ‘what shall I do’ or ‘what should I do’? A life without direction and purpose will always get you somewhere however a life lived on purpose will always bring you something you ‘should do’ and a place that you ‘must go’ to. I know for me I want to live and travel in a life that knows what it should do and why….

 When your life is on purpose, living by priority takes precedence


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What do you do for fun at your work?

For me, I have dressed as Elvis, a chicken, walked into a restaurant in a giant baby costume, the Doc from Back to the future and so much more. Why did I do that I hear you say?

I remember saying to my financial officer....’I am here too long to not have fun’. However I think we all aware that business is tough and it demands a lot of you. It can distract you from yourself and draw you away from who you really are because of the serious demands it can place on your life.

I found the teams I work with loved to see my humanity, my frailties and my love for fun. It brought us closer together and the by product of unity is productivity. I encourage you to bring elements of yourself into your work.You don't have to dress as Elvis but its ok for you to enjoy what you do. It’s ok to let the guard down and share your heart and most importantly those 40 plus hours per work deserve some fun.

(Photo: The Staunch Elvis)

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Listening to a man in a park 

I was sitting in the park, quietly reading, when a man came and interrupted my quiet space. I wasn’t really in the mood to talk. However, he clearly was. He was an older man and began by sharing his business journey. He ran a jewellery business over many years and it was becoming increasingly less profitable because of the high price of gold. I listened intently as he delved deeper into his heart and shared with me a personal story about his wife. She held a high-pressured job and together they climbed the corporate ladder in the pursuit of success. Sadly, his wife fell ill and slipped into a coma. He nursed her for seventeen years before she passed away. His mother also helped him nurse his wife and then she tragically passed away herself only two years later. He was now alone apart from his son. He quietly shared that he wished his wife was still alive, so he could still be nursing her. 

On reflection, he concluded that the simple things in life would have been so much nicer and more rewarding to pursue than being in the corporate world. Matters of the heart became the most important things to him through his reflection. 

This man, a total stranger, shared in his reflection an intimate story of true love and what was truly important to him. There was a beautiful lesson in it for me, and maybe for you? 

- an excerpt from Andrew's book Business from the Heart



I believe the timeless television sitcom, Cheers, is a great example of the type of business we want to go back to time and again. We all want to walk into a home or business and be acknowledged, recognised, and feel like we belong. A business that has a strong focus on people won’t lose sight of the human element and will make their customers feel like guests instead of ‘per capita units’. Think for a moment of that restaurant which greets you with a smile and by name, or the coffee shop barista who knows your order before you even walk in the door. Yes, you return because of the product, but more importantly, you walk back through the door because you are made to feel special. I call it a CHEERS experience

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You are important – and it’s important to take time out just for you. When your world is right, everything else is! When you board a plane, you are reminded that in an emergency you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist children or others in need. The simple message is to consider yourself (in an unselfish way), and in turn you can help others around you. It makes perfect sense to fill your lungs with oxygen and energy, so you can then move forward and help those around you. When you discover that living at your best gives you the greatest capacity to give to others, it allows you to make the greatest difference. This comes through times of pausing and reflecting on your highs and lows and your wins and your losses. 

Our lives are often busy with long working hours, family commitments and social time demands. Our attention is stretched thinly across the day and it often means there is nothing left for us at day’s end. 

We may need to take the time to stop and reflect on our lives, our hearts and the things that are most important to us, and ask, what is going on well in our hearts and businesses, what needs to change, what could we do better and what will we do next time? 

All the answers come through having times of reflection. 

- An excerpt from Business from the Heart

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Define Authenticity

Being content to be yourself, not be somebody else. There’s been nobody like you from the foundation of the world. Like you. Face it, you’re stuck with yourself…Now learn about yourself - Eugene Peterson

That's what authenticity is. We are at our best when we are able to learn about ourselves and have the freedom to encourage ourselves to be just ‘us’ with humility and unpretentiousness.


What we advertise

We are all expressing something outwardly to our community around us and the world we live in. This outward expression is like a form of advertising. The things we carry (both good and bad) are like a form of advertising of the human condition. Unfortunately, in many cases we are often advertising stress to others. It’s interesting that we are so attracted to stress when we also have the option of patience available to avoid our hearts being troubled. Personally, I find patience so much more compelling and appealing than to advertise a life of stress. However sometimes that easier to say than do…

 If we pause to think it is likely that everything that comes out of our mouths is advertising something, I wonder what I’m advertising at times….?

 What about patience?

 How many situations do you have around your life right now that are frustrating? I’m sure if you are like me, there could be many potential moments that could be frustrating. When we say ‘I’m so frustrated’, I have realised that I don’t understand that patience is way more powerful. I have realised that I don’t need patience when things are going well however when things are frustrating patience is available to me. 

 Isn’t that an interesting concept that patience is more powerful than frustration?

 It occurs to me that when I am expressing my frustration I am really saying I’m not clever enough right now to actually practice patience. I don’t realise that patience is the antidote to a situation with a person or situation. I may experience a great chance to practice patience and I blow it and I keep blowing it because I’m always frustrated. Therefore, when I hear somebody and they are always frustrated about something or they’re legitimising their stress, I realise I am listening to someone who just doesn’t get it. For instance, people who are always angry. What they are advertising is they don’t know how to be kind, gentle. 

 My learning from this is to recognise my frustrations and choose to practice patience instead of giving in to the unreasonable requests of frustration. When I can successfully do this, I will be living a life that inwardly and outwardly advertises patience.

 I realise we can say who we are by what we choose to advertise to everyone around us. Let’s advertise patience today…


A Revelatory or Redundant Imagination

Alfred Hitchcock was known as a master of enlivening the human imagination in his films. His suspenseful motion pictures took the viewers on a journey that was ‘revelatory’ often showing nothing and yet causing the mind of the viewer to spellbound as images were painted in your mind. He had the masterful knack of storytelling that caused you to journey with him painting your own pictures rather than his own.

 Let’s shift forward to today where everything around is played before us in ‘computer generated obviousness’ leaving the mind of the participant in this life somewhat ‘redundant’. We are provided with answers to solutions without having to think, we are rapidly losing the ability to read books and our device usage is increasing by the day further taking away our individual imaginative ability. We are living in a time that takes from us rather than gives and leaves us more disconnected from each other in a supposedly connected world…

 It occurred to me that we have allowed our imaginations to go from being ‘revelatory to redundant’. 

 However, I truly believe all of this can be turned around one person at a time. With this in mind, I choose a week ahead to find a book, tell a story from my heart, dive into the depth of a song and enjoy something wonderful in nature….How about you? 


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….



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.


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…. 


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…..


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.


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


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 …


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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