Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

40 DAYS & 40 NIGHTS OF CPA

Posted: May 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

fat_sick_and_nearly_deadSo I watched a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s about an Australian guy who is fat, sick and nearly dead who decides to go to America (the land of temptation) and live on juice alone. No food for 60 days only the juice of fruit and vegetables.

So I started thinking – as I do, what a fantastic way to illustrate the foundation of my belief system and my teachings. You see I have always believed that if you wish to achieve anything in your life it comes down to Consistent Positive Actions. 

Consistent obviously talks to doing it every day, never giving up, never quitting, being methodical and disciplined, never skipping a step, not missing a beat,  and don’t stop until it’s done.

Most diets do work if you do them for longer than three or four days. Relationships work if you constantly work at the important stuff, always in all ways, or at least in the ways that are important to your partner. So ladies, once a year on his birthday – not consistent! Telling and showing her how special she is once a year on Valentine’s Day will guarantee once a year on your birthday gentlemen. Small, consistent, persistent steps, that’s how you build relationships and keep them.

SO WHAT ABOUT THE POSITIVE ACTION?

Well, it’s like they advertise on the box – the actions have to be positive. Positive includes change, different, new, and moving out of your comfort zone. Positive is generally dictated by results. You really cannot fail but you can get the results that you don’t want so the idea is to shift, change and do something else until you find what works and then do it consistently. Life is all about what we do, not what we think. Someone once said to me “you become what you think about most of the time”. What nonsense! If that were true I would have been a woman 40 years ago.

Positive action is training and doing the correct stuff. Not like the amateur golfer who wants to improve his game so he goes to the driving range every day for a month and practices his hook. He literally practices his hook, and then he wonders why he hooks the ball perfectly at the company golf day! If he had just asked a coach and practiced positively! Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.

IT’S THE POSITIVE THINGS THAT WE DO THAT MATTER

Consistent Positive Action OR CPA is my operating system. So when I saw juicing I realized it would be a great example, great positive actions to demonstrate the power of CPA.

I did some research via Professor Google and thought I would give it a crack and post my progress on Facebook for my thousands of followers to watch. Nothing better than walking your talk. My initial goal was to be able to last for five days. A five-day detox. Worst five days of my adult life but when I made it, I thought I’d move it to 10 days. Ten was then extended to 20, 20 to 30 and eventually we settled on 40 days.

OUR RULES FOR JUICING WERE SIMPLE

Drink the rainbow every day. Have a green drink (green vegetables and green apples), an orange drink (carrots, oranges, pineapple etc.) and red drinks (beetroot, carrots and red apples). No brown drinks – so never mix the reds and greens. I just can’t drink anything that is brown, there’s no brown on the rainbow!  Besides, brown seems to be an “out” colour. I think brown things are supposed to leave your body. To maximize our vegetable intake, after 20 days, we concocted a smooth vegetable soup every night.

So why am I writing a newsletter about juicing? A few reasons really. Firstly as I said it’s a great example of CPA. Also because so many people have asked me about juicing but most importantly, it’s about the mind blowing and liberating lessons you get from consistent positive action.

SO WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT WERE SOME OF THE PHYSICAL BENEFITS THAT HAPPEND TO ME? 

** At this point I must state that I am not advising anyone to juice. This is not an advice column it’s merely what happened to me and what I was able to do. You should take all precautions before doing anything like this or similar endeavors.

The first day is all mental. It’s difficult and a novelty but you can push through it. On the second day you start feeling pretty lousy, your body sends starvation signals to your head and you get a massive headache. Mine lasted for four days. You get cranky, short, and you pray that the Grim Reaper will take you quickly. In fact you welcome him in, as long as he has cheesecake.

Then day five and the clouds begin to disappear (as they said they would) and you start feeling a little better and a little lighter. Each day thereafter you seem to get a little bit better and stronger and you begin to have more energy than you’ve had in years. You begin to smash your personal bests at gym and you can even run a full 10 km’s without stopping. Your mind begins to clear and ideas flood in, you seem to see the world differently. You still crave food and wonder every day why you’re doing this?

You feel lighter, you sleep better, don’t have headaches or a stuffy nose, and your skin feels alive. You start to smile more, walk lighter and your body cries out, “thank you!” Your kidney’s, liver and pancreas have their first holiday in 51 years. I think my kidneys went to Hungary, my liver to the pool and my gut garden went to the Chelsea flower show. No one could say I was full of cr4p anymore.

I lost 12 ½ kg’s in 40 days. I went from a waste of 117 cm to 108cm and clothing that didn’t fit now fitted and clothing that did fit didn’t. I grew closer to my wife and we became each other’s support system. How did I know she didn’t cheat? Well when the kids complained that the food had no salt at dinner time I knew! And the fact that we both had nightmares of us cheating on each other ….. With food!

But these were the bonus results. The actual results were so much more powerful. I discovered how food controls most if not all of our motives, actions and human interactions. I realized how much we actually spend on food in restaurants, takeaways, conference eating and snacking. I saw and felt the difference in consuming only healthy micro-nutrients as opposed to processed corporate food.

FORKING EMOTIONAL EATING
I began to understand, practically, emotional eating. When you are feeling slighted you grab a snack; feeling tired – eat something sweet; sad – reach for the comfort food; feeling unloved – cheesecake; alone – more cheesecake; unfulfilled – two pieces of cheesecake; failure, unappreciated or ignored – poor boy burger; anger – Zinger wings; bitter – chocolate cake; jealous or bored – crisps or chips; isolated – milk tart; conflicted – Surf & Turf; victimized – spaghetti on toast; rejected – food, food and more food.

But when you remove the food you have to face the emotion and the situation. You don’t have the crutch to make you feel better and stop you thinking about your challenges and emotions.

If you are bored you have to do get busy. If you are sad you have to ask why and go do something happy. You have to deal with your anger and if you are feeling lonely you have to reach out to someone. It is flippen amazing but scary. I believe that we suppress our emotions and our food autopilot takes over when we unconsciously feel uncomfortable feelings. Most people don’t stop and identify what they are feeling. Most people don’t even realize they are feeling a negative emotion, all they know is they feel like quick comfort food to lift them up again. It’s not until you swear off your unconscious drug of choice that you notice and recognize how many times a day your mood dips.

LEAD ME INTO TEMPTATION

During my juicing time I was placed into situations of temptation almost every day. I took photos and posted them on Facebook showing the amount of food I was tempted with on just one day at Champagne sports resort.

Many people believe that the best way to deal with temptation is to avoid it. To put yourself into a place where you cannot be tempted. So the student goes to the mountains. The alcoholic goes to Kansas, Mississippi or Tennessee and Charlie Sheen goes to a monastery. However, doing this doesn’t allow you to take back your power. You see, if something has power over you, a power that forces you to act uncontrollably, the only way to truly take back your power is to be surrounded by the temptation. The only true way to be empowered is to empower yourself. When you place an “em” or “en” in front of a word it actually means to create for oneself. Nobody can empower you. They are just lending you some of their power and allowing you to exercise it until they want it back or stop you. So you never really had the power – because true authentic power comes from within.

So when you say “NO” in the face of temptation you take back your power. I believe it’s easy and not very productive to take yourself out of a situation that has power over you, but to immerse yourself in it and then say no. That’s the secret.

You also get to feel proud of yourself for pushing through. You start to trust yourself again and the more you trust yourself the more you like yourself. The more and longer you like yourself, you then start to love yourself. Love yourself for long enough and you’ll learn to accept yourself and eventually you will get a certain amount of self-respect. Self-respect leads to self-worth and believe it or not you building character.

So the smaller clothes, the healthier mind and body, the compliments and the improving of your health are all small bonuses. The real benefit of continuous positive action is not the accolades or the recognition – it is the person you become.

NOW I CHALLENGE YOU TO START 40 DAYS OF SOMETHING:

  • 40 days of not swearing
  • 40 days of paying at least five compliments the day
  • 40 days of not eating something, not smoking or not drinking
  • 40 days of spending time with your kids
  • 40 days of worship or meditation, if only for an hour a day
  • 40 days of appreciation. Imagine 40 days of customer appreciation!
  • 40 days of exercise
  • 40 days of having $3x with your spouse (Hey some couples do a whole year)
  • Maybe it’s 40 days of writing, or studying or visiting. – Whatever you need to do.

Just remember its 40 days, non-stop. If you miss a day you start all over again. It’s the Consistent Positive Action that will put you where you want to be.

Have a CPA month

Gavin Sharples

A few things to know before you start

  • Get the best “cold press” juice machine you can afford OR ask around and borrow one until you know you’re up for the challenge.
  • Juices and smoothies are completely different things.
  • Always have a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand.
  • Try to juice mainly veg and use the fruit for the flavouring.
  • Use the whole fruit / veg – seeds and skins included. Except for citrus fruit skin.
  • Include a chunk of fresh ginger in everything. Start small and gradually increase as it will take a bit of getting used to the taste.
  • Have a good supply of bottles and jars to save the juices in.
  • Juice a few days’ supply all at once – it makes it easier for a number of reasons
    • Not having to clean the machine everyday
    • The juices taste better cold
    • They are ready when you’re hungry

 

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!

Posted: April 12, 2016 in Uncategorized
So I was speaking to a GM of a large hotel chain about his new post out in a remote area. Polite conversation brings us to the fact that he and his wife have decided not to have children. He immediately and almost apologetically begins to justify their decision to me. This got me thinking, as I always tend to do.

Isn’t it funny how our social programming dictates how we should live our lives?

Grow up, get a job, get married, have children and you will live happily ever after. I can hear all of the working, married parents laughing their a$$e$ off. I honestly think that I have an argument against each and every one of those well-meaning “pearls of wisdom”.
Growing up – is the last thing you should ever do. Getting older, as they say, is mandatory but growing up is flippen suicide. Can you think of anything worse than being in a meeting with a bunch of “grown-ups”?
Staying and thinking “young” should be your mantra. You are as old as the woman you feel that’s why I married my child bride who is eight years my junior. She’s allowed to eat at the big table now and she can stay up until 10:30! Don’t be childish but rather be childlike, for as long as you can. Play, have fun and never stop being naughty.
Getting a job – may pay the bills but working for yourself should be the only advice we give to our children.

Get married – now at this point I would like to say that I love my wife dearly and wouldn’t have it any other way – however, when Paul McCartney divorced Heather Mills the settlement was a staggering R731 000 000. Sir Paul could have had a high-class hooker on every day that he was married and still saved 75% of what he paid out. He also would never have heard any of these words: “No, headache, I don’t feel like it, not now, I don’t feel well, I’m too fat, I don’t feel connected, you’re ugly, you smell, it’s too late, it’s too early, I’ve just done my hair and make-up, but we just did it two months ago”. He would always be a hunk, a great lover and never have to cuddle for a half an hour afterwards. Just saying!

Have a few children – Again at this point I would like to state that I love my children more than anything in the world, literally, and I would not change having them for anything. However, if I knew then what I know now, I most definitely would have thought about going in another direction. Children are blessings, they really are, and they teach you more about yourself than you will ever teach them, but there are certain things they don’t put in the brochure.

Firstly, finding out that she is pregnant is a shock to the system and fear and doubt sets in. Then there are the scans and the doctors’ visits, constantly worrying whether everything is going to be safe. To explain the fear and helplessness of being at the birth would be futile. Let’s face it; it’s not really your gig, it’s all about mom and the doctors and you’re just there to pay the bills, be abused, threatened and blamed because you – and only you – are the cause of all of her pain and that if you ever come near her again, she will do physical harm to sensitive parts of your body. You take the abuse and stand around looking a bit lost, much like a constitutional court ruling in South Africa. 

The miracle of life happens and you are emotionally overwhelmed. So now it’s off home to live happily ever after.
Not so fast!!

Baby has yellow jaundice and needs to stay in a “tanning bed” with teeny glasses on for another 2 or 3 days. The bills and the stress send your blood pressure through the roof and now it’s home time. So you get all the traffic reports and leave the hospital on the quietest back roads with baby fully strapped into her new car seat with bubble wrap with mom sitting alongside in the back seat, just in case.

Following the scariest and most nerve wracking drive of your life, you get your little bundle of joy home (actually all they do at this point are the three c’s – cry, consume and cr4p) and it’s only now that you realize you are alone with this little human and you’re fully responsible for keeping it alive. And this is just the beginning, because unless you have kids of your own, I cannot explain what you are about to experience!kids3

Sleepless nights, colic, colds & flu, falls (they “accidentally” roll off beds – I took my eyes off her for a second), trips to the chemist at midnight, trips to the doctor, nappy rash, changing nappies full of a green and brown gunk (I kid you not its actually green), teething, sleeping in relays, eating in relays, being a referee between mom and mother-in-law, and then they turn one.

Once they start walking (which you foolishly encouraged) your life is never the same. You have to baby proof your entire house, moving everything above waist height, blocking all plugs, barricading the staircase, fencing in the pool and chasing after them everywhere as you begin to do everything in shifts. There are “friends’” baby parties every weekend where you are blackmailed into attending, and you purchase gifts for children you don’t even know in the hope that when it is your turn they will reciprocate.

Then there’s finding preschools and enrolling in preschools; finding a primary school and pre-booking (and paying for) said school. It’s now a life of fundraisers and teachers meetings; socializing with people you don’t know and in most cases wouldn’t want to know; know-it-all dads and some hot moms. You have to become a code breaker with deciphering paintings and noodle artwork stuck on the fridge, and doing the dad wheelbarrow race. Then just when you thought your bank doesn’t care about you, your bank manager constantly calls and emails because he’s tired of funding the consequences of your carnal experiments.

You would imagine at this point any sane person would say, “one is enough, we are closing the factory!” But who said anything about being sane? Let’s have another and still another and all of the above triplicates. That’s right – multiply all of this by 3.

kiddsApart from all the medical scares, dental bills, orthodontic appointments, schools, clothing, parties and gifts for other kids, you also have to become a deceitful liar. You have to perpetuate the expensive and time consuming urban legends that are Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. You spend hours watching Barney and the Teletubbies, and then try to explain to your daughter why you have a “tail” when she sees you in the shower.

Now don’t get me started on schools! But, if you are lucky enough to get your children into a good school you will find and finally meet “the mafia”. Institutions owned mostly by churches (the let’s indoctrinate them while they’re young theory) and run by people who have never really left school. They do however know that they are the only decent game in town, and because decent schooling is a high priority, a scarce commodity, they charge what they want and dictate policies and procedures that suit only them. So you spend your days boxing, arguing, writing emails, paying bills and occasionally rather biting your tongue.

You have to coach your kids through disappointment, hurt, anger, and loss of friendships, breakups, and hormones that are ever-changing, ever-growing and ever challenging. It’s about holidays, clothes, gadgets, fetching and carrying, and freezing your plumbs off next to a soccer field at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Functions, parties, plays and recitals, and also staying up for late-night collections. You basically become an Uber without the money at the end of the trip. If you love your children it’s about worry, fear and arguing, about being a referee between mom and teenage daughters, or mom and the teenage boy.

Its subject choices, worrying about their future, doing homework, paying for extra lessons and after school activities. It’s a battle of wills – knowing when to let it go and when to reel it in. It’s being the bad guy when they are naughty, the fun guy when they are sad and always being the brave super dad when they all run into the house screaming “snake, snake” as if I’m frikken Bear Grylls all of the sudden.

Then there’s the first date, the matric dance, prelims and finals, driving lessons and then off to varsity.
kids4
You do all of this out of love and the expectation that one-day they will look into your eyes and say, “I love you dad!”

But you only have them (if you’re lucky) until about 15 or 16 and then they don’t want to be around you, or know you, because they have their own lives to live. And if you have done it right, you would have raised strong, independent, productive, caring people who want nothing to do with you because they have their own lives to live. They want to grow up, get a job, get married and have a few kids.

I am not saying don’t have children. On the contrary, if you are blessed and can have them, have them. But go in it with your eyes wide open and know that having children is not about you and it is not about what you will get or achieve. Having children is a selfless, giving endeavor. It’s a life sentence. If you do it well you may get parole after 21 or 22 years. If you fail as a parent they will still be bumming money off you at 45 and living above the garage.

Research has shown that people who do not have children are on average happier than people who have them. Oh and they are richer as well! I believe having children is a calling and not for the faint of heart. Having children should require a license and at least 2 years of study and a 2-year apprenticeship at an orphanage.

Do you realize that children are the most misunderstood, commodities mass-produced by unskilled and unthinking labour? It is a massive responsibility and a roller coaster ride you cannot explain. In the end you will only remember the good things and maybe if you are very, very lucky you will live old enough to see your grandchildren meet out your revenge.

I LOVE YOU KIDS!

Gav

Here’s the thing!

It’s long been a bugbear of mine this whole question of tipping. I assume you, like me, and most people, begrudgingly go along with this strange custom mostly because of social norms and guilt.

Have you noticed that almost everywhere you turn everyone wants your money, everyone wants a tip?

Park your car anywhere and you get people asking for a tip. Pull up at a stop light and “hey I juggled; I took your garbage; I keep this intersection clean; I have a sad face; I’m poor – money please!!” Someone takes away your shopping trolley, brings you a glass of water, carries the expensive gadget to your car, or keeps the toilets clean – Give me your money!

So what are these things called tips?

I always believed TIPS when given to a person before an event or dining experience was TInitiate Prompt Service. TIPS given after an event or meal are done as a Token IProportion of Service. These acronyms are mostly urban legend and not based in fact. Research shows that the word TIP was originally a type of slang word used by criminals, thieves or fraudsters in or around the 1600’s. It was used to denote getting a share of the loot. How interesting is that tip-bit and you will soon see how relevant.

So without turning this into a history story, let me ask you – do you tip? At the tipping point do you tip, why do you tip, how much do you tip, should you tip, and is tipping appropriate or blatant classism and racism?tips

Do you realise that in some countries paying gratuity is illegal. In the United States of America it is expected and in some countries it is regarded as an insult. In China a tip is not expected and in South Korea it is regarded as inappropriate. In Denmark it is common for service charges to be added onto the bill but it is not compulsory. FYI the concept of tipping has been widely researched and people like Michael Lynn have written books on the subject after years of study.

I have always hated the concept of tipping and agree fully with Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn who said “It is an obligation masquerading as an option. It is a bizarre singling out of one person for compensation. It TIPPINGis a clumsy thing that just dangles there, clumsily outside the cost of the meal. Math’s is required. And it draws you unwontedly into the employment contract and remuneration agreement between the poorly paid employee and the restaurant owner.” All I want is a cheeseburger.

Elizabeth is correct. I do not want to be drawn into the employment problems and challenges of the company and its employee. It really isn’t my problem how much the employee is paid and I shouldn’t have to be responsible for feeding my servers kids, paying their tuition or making up the shortfall of their cr4ppy salary. It is an absolute obligation masquerading as an option. There is really no option unless you wish to go on the biggest guilt trip of your life and be judged by friend and foe.

Then there is that math’s thing and the question of how much is appropriate? How much is too much? Is there such a thing as too little? It just all makes my head hurt.

When asking people if they tip or not the responses are normally infected with feelings of guilt, remorse, pity, charity, excuses, self-righteousness and blatant racism.

Let me explain further. Have you ever asked someone if they tip only to be told that they do because they were once a waitress? Well what does that have to do with anything? Surely you cannot reward someone if the service was non-existent. And I’m not speaking here of the standard lukewarm, “can I help you?” slapdash South African service. I believe I pay a premium price at most if not all of the restaurants I frequent. I know for a fact that part of the overhead factored into my R22 cappuccino is for staff wages. Let’s face it, its frikken coffee grinds, hot water and a splash of milk. Because you were once a waitress is no reason to tip (to pay more) to somebody who does nothing but carry a cup of coffee to your table.

The real question is did they pop? Did they exceed your expectations? Were they welcoming, friendly, courteous and did they know their product? Did they go above and beyond and make your experience memorable or did they merely become friendly when it was time for you to settle the bill? 

The next question is how much?

Is it a percentage of the total bill and if so, why? Surely if I – out of the kindness of my heart – wish to hand over more of my hard earned money to you as another human being, any amount above the obligatory should be seen as kindness and an unexpected bonus?

WARNING – Look out for this!

Here’s the new thing. I kid you not on no fewer than 3 occasions at three different restaurants; servers have refused to accept money that was lower than the expected 10% of the total bill.  At the Vaal Mall Mugg & Bean my wife had added an extra R20 to our breakfast bill to be placed on the card. To her surprise the server didn’t add the R20 onto the credit card. Thinking it was an oversight she took R20 cash out of her purse and beckoned the server back to the table to collect his gratuity. He ignored her. Eventually she called another server, handed the R20 to her, to hand to our server. We witnessed him physically refuse the R20 telling the courier to return it to us because it wasn’t enough. I know! You can lift your jaw off the floor now.

This however was not an isolated incident. It happened again at a five-star restaurant in Bedford Centre called Catch. A nice place that we frequent – correction – used to frequent up to 4 times a month. The waitress in this case refused her gratuity again as if she was teaching me a lesson by not taking my money. Well, was I put in my place? I may have lost a whiff of sleep that night. No – that was just gas.

So being the quiet introverted, reserved person I am, on leaving I walked past her standing at the entrance and made it abundantly clear that I was going to take my R30 and hand it to a server in the next restaurant or better still, I would hand it to the unemployed person less than 100 m from where she stood. The manager began to apologies but I had my say with my feet as most customers do.

Look out for this new trend people! If you don’t give people enough extra money, they will “throw it back at you” in front of your family, friends or colleagues.

It’s not the restaurant’s fault I hear you say, and I must give credit to the owner of Mugg & Bean Vaal Mall who came to our table 2 days later and apologized. She also made the server apologise. I believe it is the restaurant’s fault. There is clearly a lack of training and every second waiter you meet will tell you they’re not paid enough and that without their tips they are unable to survive. This is disputed by some restaurant owners who say they are bound by unions to pay a minimum wage. Is it possible that some establishments abuse their staff by paying them slave wages? Yes! It is possible but it’s not my problem, all I want is a cheeseburger. 

So the question still remains, how much?

Should it be 10% across the board? Surely this will kill service in our restaurants because if the gratuity is built in as standard, why on earth would waiters bother to smile; upsell or be professional? And what of the servers who do go above and beyond? Should they be remunerated the same as the “poor me-I’m suffering-haven’t smiled in 5 years-hate my job- racist?” tipping2

Tipping is racist!

This is not a throwaway statement. It is a researched fact. Black people are tipped less than white people even by black people. Black people tip white people more than they do black service people. Most White South Africans tip out of guilt. Tipping is classism and condescending and mostly done out of guilt.

Research shows that many people tip out of sympathy. They feel sorry for the person “serving” them. They see them as servants which would explain some of the shocking treatment people in the service industry have to endure. They tip out of superiority “let’s face it you are poor – I am not as poor as you – so here is some charity – here are the leftovers in my wallet because you are a waiter – you are dumb – you may be studying and one day you will be clever like me, but for now you a dumb a$$ and you haven’t qualified for anything except being my slave while I am in this establishment – so because you work for a minimum wage and I am so much better then you, here is my Token to Ingratiate my Perfection”. 

Tipping is a massive guilt trip

Face it, we feel guilty. An average family will drop between R300 to R700 in a single meal even if it is at Spur. That’s probably the weekly wage of the person taking your order and bringing your food. Again – Not your fault, but that they will make it your problem. This is done with guilt. I want a cheeseburger, fries and a massive side order of guilt please.

Tipping is done out of fear

“Imagine how I will look and feel if I don’t leave a tip? What will they think of me? What will they say behind my back?” Really? You have such a poor self-image that you pay money to someone you don’t know, who doesn’t know you, because you’re worried what they will think of you when you leave the place. Really? People tip even when the service and food was below standard because of the fear of conflict.

Tipping is sexist and it discriminates
  • Fact: blonde women get bigger tips
  • Fact: women with bigger breasts get bigger tips. Not a euphemism
  • Fact: the more attractive you are, the more you earn
  • Fact: research shows that there is no correlation between outstanding service and the amount of remuneration.
  • If you are white, hot and have big hooters you will out-earn any man even if he serves you topless. There are a few places (I’ve heard), where attractive; well-endowed women serve you topless and (I’m told) they earn more than surgeons. I will research this fact – for accuracy – and report back to you.
  • Fact: up to half of all the tips earned are not declared to SARS.
  • Fact: some companies pay poorly because they know the area is a high tipping one and service people are on a waiting list to serve for next to no basic salary.

tips3

So who do you tip and who don’t you tip?
  • Why do you tip the waiter and not the owner if she serves you?
  • Do you tip the chefs, who, let’s face it; did most of the bl00dy work? They have the skill without which would render the whole business obsolete.
  • Surely there should be a tip for the kitchen staff or what about the dishwashers?
  • Do we only tip people who are poorer than us and then how do we know?

If you know what a pilot earns and you fly business class, shouldn’t you just pop in to the cockpit (apologies – not politically correct) flight-deck, on landing and shell out a few Mandela’s for a great “non-stop” flight.

Flight attendants are waitresses in the sky, so shouldn’t we slip a 50 into her top pocket for a “job well done and those extra nuts” on leaving the plane?

Where do we draw the line? And who draws the line for us?

Should we tip our wives for meals that are tasty and on time, but if they’re late and unappetizing, lock her up in the cellar again? Maybe too much personal info there! And why not pop a 20 into our kid’s palm (which they will gladly accept) because they set the table and brought your plate from the kitchen?

What about S3x workers? Nah, I suppose we do give them the tip, sometimes a bit more, but only if they Try Interesting Positions. Speaking of prostitutes and thieves, what about politicians and municipal workers? We know we can’t tip politicians. Well we are not supposed to – but this is Africa baby. No fly’s on them they just keep having Tax Increases for the People and Take Immediate Payments. TIP – get it?

Petrol attendants are unnecessary and South Africa is one of the few countries that still employ these people as a job creation exercise. Yet, in spite of sphincter-clinching fuel prices, we are expected to shell out more money to a person we are already paying to be there. Can I get my cheeseburger please?

Do you see how complicated this thing is?

But if I have to single out my biggest problem with tipping staff, it is when they don’t even acknowledge that you’ve given them something, and they don’t have the courtesy, the manners, the decency, the common basic human attribute to say – Thank you! It makes me want to have an epileptic, thrombodial fit.

I do tip!

When the service standards are exceeded and the attitude is friendly from the get go. I tip an amount that I am comfortable with giving. I over-tip when the service and food is above expectations. I tip because I can, and because I can – I do. I tip because there are hardworking service people out there who spend hours on their feet every day and on many occasions they have to deal with … the public.

Being tipped is not a right, it’s a bonus. It is a kindness and TIPS4recognition token for kindness and professionalism. It is a form of giving. Let’s not legislate it or spoil it for the hardworking people who do it every day to feed their kids and give them dignity. It’s a way of saying thank-you and well done, and if it wasn’t well done, no tip until next time.

Now, just the cheeseburger please. With extra love, a dash of friendly, and a small side order of grateful.

Have a great month and remember to tip your server appropriately.

Gav

A true story about Paying It Forward : a very cool life and business philosophy

You can only skin a sheep once, but you can shear it for the rest of its life!SHEEP

It’s a really famous saying in sales and what it means is – make the customer and not the sale. The relationship is more important than the sale and if done correctly, will produce many more sales in the future.

So let me pre-empt some fallout before I begin. This newsletter is not intended to disrespect, discourage, or influence anyone to take or not to take any action and has absolutely no malice or anger attached to it. It’s just a fantastic example, a true story which clearly illustrates two companies, two dealerships, with two different business strategies. Both are driven by profit, and I am an absolute advocate of making a profit. But one however builds relationships and customers for life, while the other makes a one off quick sale and has customers that will never go back or recommend them to any friends, colleagues or clients.

So here are the highlights of my true story. ​CAR DEALERSHIP “A” VS DEALERSHIP “B”

My daughter Lea was 17 years old (soon to be 18), and needed a first car. We ended up at a car dealer. Very nice people and to cut a long story short, I purchased not 1 but 2 cars. I got myself the JC Works at the insistence of my kids and maybe also as a result of my midlife crisis. One or two snags on registration and a few disappointments with my vehicle but all good.

Bombshell!! Within days of taking delivery of the manual gearbox car, Lea was diagnosed with MS. A devastating event for the whole family but especially for our little girl.   Without going into it, her nervous system is a mess and basically her body is attacking itself. One of the symptoms for her is that when she gets hot, nervous or scared her eye clouds over and her vision becomes blurred. We discovered that the stress of learning to drive a manual gearbox was not ideal.

We decided to look for an automatic car, which would better suit her and her new condition. So within a few weeks and after explaining our situation to dealer “A” from which we bought the two cars, asked if we could be quoted on an automatic car and trade in the basically “brand-new” one whose mileage was around only 300 km’s (driven mostly by me so that the battery wouldn’t die).

Now before the car people jump all over me. I know about car values. I know once a vehicle is driven out of the showroom it loses up to 25% of its value immediately. I know about profit, I know about business and and and, … But I had just dropped over half a million rand at this company and I was looking for a deal that I knew I would lose on, but was palatable.  They offered to trade the car in as a second-hand, giving me second-hand values and priced the new vehicle at the new price. This meant I would pay in an additional R80 000.   They are a profit driven organization, I get that. I was a profit and sales target dream. One customer could now net 3 vehicles, 3 sales. My daughters devastating disease meant another sale. Times are tough and business is business.

I decided however to decline the “deal”, keep the car for my second younger daughter who would need a car in another few years, and shop around for an automatic for Lea. Nothing wrong, no bad blood just very disappointed but I get it. I do.

Fast-forward a few weeks – I am addressing Peugeot (yes name mentioned for dealership “B”) at the launch of their new 208. In an attempt to illustrate the importance of building a relationship purpose driven company as opposed to a profit purpose company, I told my “dealer A” story and moved on. Within two days a Peugeot dealer offered me a much better deal without even knowing me, where my pay-in would have been about R20 000 for a smaller new vehicle.

THEN ALONG CAME A HERO!   The next day Vaughn Marescia from Peugeot Pietermaritzburg sent me a WhatsApp message which paraphrasingly (not even a flippen word) went something like this;   “I have the top of the range, not yet launched, brand-new Peugeot 208 with all the extras. It is not a demo. I will take your daughters car as a straight swap for this car. If you paid more I will pay you the difference, if you paid less I’ll call it even. (It was actually more expensive as a new car let alone a second-hand) I will add extra time to the maintenance and motor plan. When and where do you want it delivered?”

It happened to work out that her 18th birthday and party was on the Friday and the above conversation was happening on the Wednesday. He was in Pietermaritzburg and I’m in PEUGEOT 208Jo’burg but he said, “No problem – my sales manager Rory will leave tomorrow, sleep in Johannesburg and drop the car at your home on Friday morning while she’s at school”. This way it could be revealed to her as a surprise at the party on Friday night.

To cut a long and emotional story short – we were able to park the automatic car in the driveway hidden by all her friends who called her outside under the rouge of a massive group photo. As she walked out the front door they all shouted, “surprise”, and parted revealing her brand new, “MS friendly”, Peugeot 208 GT Line Turbo. I cannot explain or express all the feelings, emotions, love and humility I felt all in one. It was a moment that will live with me for the rest of my life. As a dad I could not prevent or fix her condition but I could make life a little easier for this remarkable, strong, beautiful young lady. My little girl.

Who made it possible? Who went the extra mile? Who said F the profit? Who said this is about building relationships? Who said it’s about people, a little girl, a dad, a family? Who said without being asked, how can I get involved and pay my privilege forward? It was Vaughn.

So who’s wrong, and who’s right? Is there a villain in the story? I don’t believe there is and no one is right or wrong. Someone is just near sighted and the other can see into the future. One company’s purpose and focus is profit and sales. Nothing wrong with that, and good for them. I’m not judging. The other also focuses on profit and sales but they do it by building relationships, making a difference and making a client and not a sale.

Over the years I really have thought I was mad doing all the charity work I do, helping small businesses, speaking at fundraisers, reducing fees and not billing for some events. But when someone gives back to you, more importantly to your children, it just makes you want to pay it forward again and again. Funny thing is that within the same month the Down Syndrome Association of SA contacted me to speak at a fundraiser for their children, and it was an honor to pay it forward at no fee.

A personal note to Vaughn: You are indeed a man among men. Peugeot SA did not step up; all the other dealerships in the room didn’t step up. I never expected anyone to. But YOU did. You placed people before profit and in doing so not only have you made a difference you have made a supporter for life. Thank you. Do you also get the massive brand building exercise this one dealer principal did for Peugeot ? This newsletter goes out to tens of thousands of people around the world, and before this amazing experience Peugeot was a car and brand that I never had a thought about.

There is no fault in wanting to make a profit. Dealership “A” are a profit driven company and good for them. Will I be buying anything from them ever again?

A good friend of mine, who’s a past disciple and employee of “company A”, heard my story and insisted that I tell someone at head office. Within days the assistant to some big shot at “company A” called me and I told him my story. He said he was shocked and disappointed and would definitely get back to me. That was four months ago.

I don’t believe that the story represents “company A”, its brand and its vehicles. I still drive my JC Works and it’s an amazing vehicle. I may even buy another one but there is one branch that I will not be going back to.

PAY FORWARD FEBNow to the lessons:   Build relationships, go the extra mile in all that you do and the profit and accolades will happen.   Anyone can make a sale, especially where there is a need. Only the great ones, the people with vision who understand that business is a marathon and not a sprint, just like marriage and partnerships – will have success and referral longevity.

Have a great month and check out our FEBRUARY SPECIALS for small groups and businesses.

Gav​

IT’S 2016 AND IT’S TIME

Posted: January 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

Start-buttonIt’s time to be the motivator, the inspirator, the hope and attitude adjuster.

Your team is back at work. I promise you, as much as they appreciate their jobs and need them, and as nice as you are – they don’t want to be there. They just spent the best part of four weeks eating junk and waking up at 10 o’clock. They’ve had the taste of freedom and what it is like to live a millionaire’s life. And now they have to put in another 244 working days to fund their next Hugh Hefner, all-day long pyjama orgy.

Your kids need to hit the books and teachers dirty looks. Your spouse has to get back to work too and trust me, most, just like you, are not feeling up to it. The economy is taking a beating. Crime and corruption is on the rise. Unemployment is at an all-time high. The press and news channels spit out nothing but negative compost and seek out any and all atrocities for our viewing “pleasure”, and to keep us collectively in a state of fear and negativity.

Your people, your team needs you. It’s time to motivate, to inspire, to give hope and adjust their attitudes.

So how can you do this? 

  • Be an example.
  • Get there / up earlier and do what you do.
  • Smile.
  • Lift your chin and speak with positivity and hope.
  • Focus on what is working and seek out pockets of excellence in your department, company or family.
  • Tell them how great they are and what they mean to the team.
  • Sit with them and set small personal targets and help them get there.
  • Declare a 30-day news-watching moratorium and get them to watch a comedy every day instead (or maybe just the parliamentary channel).
  • Start the year with a positive bang and get a speaker (an unashamed self-plug) or have a social event to kick off 2016.

Negative people, intellectuals and lazy people have for so long been spouting out that motivation and “rah-rah” doesn’t work. Well I’m telling you, as I’ve done for 25 years now, motivation is essential especially when leading intellectual people. Motivation is essential in getting lazy people to take action. Motivation is essential in changing the minds of negative individuals.

As the leader of a team or head of a family, isn’t that your only job? If they have the skills all they need is the why and the how. If they don’t have the skills that’s what the training department is for, so motivate them to learn more and be more.

Everyone needs a motive for action. Did you see what I did there? I took the word motivation and broke it up as it should be understood. Motive – a strong reason to do … I then added “C” to a_tion to explain the word motivation. It is a reason to do. The world needs motivators. People who say “we can, we will, we must, this is how and.. Follow me”.

You are the motivator. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to a corporate team of thousands, a small business of two or a family member, be the one! The one who shows, the one who knows and gives hope, love & energy.

Remember it’s all about motivating and leading by example and the only way that is possible is with personal leadership. Personal motivation. So get off your butt and start doing.

Set up your exercise activities and start ticking Motivational kick up the assthe boxes. I put a marble into a vase every time I exercise, create, train my mind, or close a gig. What system are you using, and what is your target for 2016? Yes it’s tough, yes it’s hard, stop bitching, whinging and making excuses, it’s tough for everyone, just do it.

Be the example to your kids. They’ve seen how you can drink, party and how you handle a hangover the day after, now show them tough love, inspiration and positive energy.

  • Google: “quotes on happiness” and read them for 10 minutes a day. Write down your key values, again, and make them “live” every day.
  • YouTube: “motivational videos” for 10 minutes a day if you’re a visual person. Stop making excuses – do something.
  • Stop blaming others – own it, fix it.
  • Change something, even one thing and see the difference it makes.
  • Stand up, step up, get up, shut up and just make it happen: yes, YOU, now!

“Your people”, need to see the light. Be that light. They need to feel your love and mostly they need to see that there is hope. Don’t just wait to see how the year turns out. Get up every day and mould it into how you want it to be. Be the hope, lead by who you are and what you do.

2016 is a new year’s gift of pure potential and it’s yours for the taking. Own it, mould it and show us how it’s done.

Gav Sharples

Japan vs SA

Japan vs SA

After the Japan vs South Africa game I posted a letter of support for Heyneke Meyer on Facebook. It was a positive message (basically saying; keep your chin up and do not let the (mostly) idiotic rugby following public) who all have negative opinions, get you down.

Well that’s all water under the bridge now, the team playing in the South African colours are already home. Fortunately a large percentage of them are heading to the Shady Pines Retirement Village. A place they should have checked into, way before the Rugby World Cup.

So what did we learn – if anything, from the 2015 Springbok campaign that we can use in our own personal or professional lives?

Before I begin though, let me state from the onset that I am not any kind of rugby expert. In fact, I watch occasionally when box seats are offered (heads up to all corporates 🙂 or from the comfort of my leather, lazy chair. I played second-team rugby in my matric year for Mondeor High School where we lost most of the games (but usually won the fights during or afterwards).  As you probably know, I am a modern-day performance and results philosopher who loves to learn from true-life experiences. That being said here is my opinion –

LESSON 1

People will kick you when you are down

When you are down, and your back is against the wall expect to be kicked in the nuts by the exact people you would have expected to support you. I refer here to the little Japanese event. Just ask Heyneke Meyer how many friends he had after that game! Like rats off a sinking ship he was left standing like Darren Scott at a team building event. After the Japan game any airhead, rugby wannabe who played 3rd team rugby for Kempton Park High in 1980 had an opinion and sprayed his uninformed, vile, vitriol out all over Facebook to his 17 “friends” who surprise-surprise all agreed with this armchair expert. Hey, that’s why they’re “friends”.

Have you ever stood your ground against a policy, procedure or nasty person on behalf of a team? The same team who complained to you, called for something to be done, something to be said? Then you stood up – said the say, but noticed all of a sudden that you were alone in the room. You were like Diane Kohler Barnard at a DA picnic.

The lesson – Stand your ground alone and do what you do, knowing that you are alone. Anyone who then stands by you is a bonus. If you make a mistake, and you will (we all do), know that you will stand alone – and anyone who supports you is a true friend.  

LESSON 2

People are basically irrational

Especially people who cannot separate themselves from the link to an outside event or group. Sports fans are especially susceptible to irrational behavior. Even more so, if the fans follow a team that represents “their” country. They literally personalize the team’s personality, history, brand and results. They fail to see or to separate themselves from the team. This is why they talk about the team and themselves in the first person. “We” should have picked / “We” played so well. Oh really what position did you play, boerewors? I never saw you on the field. Oh! Maybe you were the invisible 9th man. (Because there isn’t one – there is an 8th man but… it’s a rugby thing ladies).

Notice also that when “we” lose, it is a very personal loss and people become sad, depressed, angry and drink a lot more than usual. They also become selectors and teammates. “I” would never have picked / “I” would have kicked / “I” would have passed. It’s a pity that “you” didn’t have a say Mr. African Grey, beach-ball-carrying, Roodepoort High, first-team water-boy of 1978. Maybe you should apply for the job, or maybe just get your butt off the couch without pulling a muscle?

When “we’re” up, it’s all about “us” and “we”. When “we” lose it’s about “they” and “them”. When “we” win its Heyneke, but when “we” lose its “Meyer” or “that K@K coach”.

The lesson – People attach themselves and personalize stuff. The more they want to, and need to belong & give meaning to their lives, the more they will relate and own – but they will abandon ship just as quickly and turn on the very people they once supported. Sound familiar?

LESSON 3

Meritocracy is the only choice

meritocracy

 

 

 

 

Choosing people based on quotas, past results, dogma or cronyism will always end in failure. In my humble-uninformed-opinion, most of the black players that were chosen should never have been selected – With perhaps the exception of Siya Kolisi. Half of the white players chosen were too old (rugby is a young man’s game), out of form, and just plain not good enough.

If you do what you’ve always done, you are going to get what you’ve always got. Did we not learn that from John Smit (and co) from the last World Cup?

If your way of playing rugby won you a super 15 tournament years ago, it will probably not work years later in a different tournament and on the world stage. Oh, and for the record – I am all for transformation in rugby! Transform it from an “old boys club” to a meritocracy. Yes, if you are outstanding – you play – irrespective of the colour of your skin, your religion or who your favourite James Bond was. This, methinks, may be a scary thought because let’s face it – black people outnumber whites by about 15 or 22 to one. Imagine rugby a black sport!

The same should then also apply for soccer. A team chosen on merit alone – imagine! Imagine a government elected based on meritocracy. “Imagine all the people living…”

Lesson – Move with the times and the new thinking. Choose based on results and outstanding performances even if it is at the cost of the old guard. Did you notice how many penalties the “old heads” that were taken with (for their calm heads and experience) gave away?

LESSON 4

Japan taught us that preparation before an event is vital. Executing a game plan and playing as if your life depended on it, will always get you results.

LESSON 5

You can’t win a tennis match with a racket that has no strings. If you select the wrong team, it’s like going into a gun-fight with a stick. They were doomed from the start. Pick a winning team or strategy before you go on diet.

LESSON 6

Cockiness before the fall

Remember the pre-flight send off at Monte Casino? The players strutting off the bus with their screw you, designer shades and coiffed, somewhat confused hairstyles, modeling the green jacket as if on a catwalk in Milan. One word – Japan. Winners are humble, champions more so!

LESSON 7do your best

All you can do is your best

And that is what I believe they did. In spite of all their self-imposed obstacles, they gave it their all. They did their best and that’s all anyone can ask for. To lose when you have given your all is to lose with dignity. They just sent the wrong team to do the job.

Having said that, the All Blacks nearly doubled the Australian’s score in the final, but only managed to beat South Africa by 2 points. An amazing feat for a team not fit for task. Typical South African spirit, grit and guts. Very well done men!

TO SUMMARIZE

  • Meritocracy is the only way to go.
  • You find your true friends when days are dark.
  • You see the character of a person when their back is against the wall. Do they step-up or take everyone down with them?
  • Change, innovation and creativity are the only way to meet the future.
  • People are needy and fickle. There must be a money-making opportunity knowing this. Oh yes, it’s called religion.
  • Humility is the last outpost of class.
  • No matter what, remember the words from an old book I once read -“…. and it came to pass!”
  • No matter what you’re going through now, it will pass.
  • If times are dark, it will pass.
  • If times are slow, it will pass.
  • If times are good, it will pass.
  • No matter what – it will all be in the pas(s)t.
  • It’s the last few minutes in your 2015 season – so dig deep, it’s not how you start or what you have done, its how you are going to finish.

ARE YOU GOING TO FINISH STRONG?

Gav

I SEE INVISIBLE PEOPLE

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

INVISIBLEAs a kid I always wanted to be invisible. Invisibility was my reply when asked what superpower I wanted. Imagine the fun you could have – especially with girls! Later in life I had / have a dream to move to a deserted tropical island and just disappear. A kind of self-inflicted invisibility.

Change of direction: so I end up sitting with a stranger in a restaurant due to space issues. He is an older man, maybe in his mid-60’s and at the time I was in my 40’s. We start talking about stuff and eventually old age becomes a topic. He explains one or two of the many downsides of getting older. The first thing was the loss of hearing direction. Not hearing itself but the direction from where the voice is coming. You hear your name but you can’t make out the direction it’s coming from, so you end up looking around like a special-needs person, with your wife madly swinging her arms at you as if she’s parking an airplane with ping-pong bats.

The second challenge he told me was “becoming invisible”. “Invisible?” I asked. “Yes, you becoming invisible, that’s why I’m amazed you even wanted to sit with me let alone speak to me. You see the older you get the more of a non-person you become”. He now had sadness on his face and the situation became a little uncomfortable. He told me how people actually, physically bump into him because he’s old and people just stop seeing him. His opinions, ideas and council were no longer requested, needed, or taken seriously. Now, of course I am fascinated! I have always been intrigued about how we treat older people so my brain focuses on the concept of being invisible. A hard thing to do as a stage performer who is the center of attention almost every other day.

I started listening and noticing other people speak of the same condition. Being invisible. And to my surprise many aren’t even old people. It is difficult to ask you whether you see invisible people, because if they are invisible how do you see them? So, let’s see if I can get you to see the unseen that are around you every day.  

Do you also have an invisible person who puts socks and clean underwear in your drawer? Or an invisible person who fills the fridge with food every day? They make sure that clothing magically appears clean and pressed in your cupboards and meals appear on the table every night without any effort from you. We have an invisible lunch maker who makes lunches for our kids. I see her doing this every day but for some reason the teenage children don’t. To them the lunch boxes just magically appear and on their way home with their invisible chauffeur they pass comments of disapproval at some of the menu items for the day. These blissfully unaware messages are conveyed “through” mostly invisible Mom and intended for the invisible lunch maker.

What about the people at work? The ones who are there but you never really actually see them. They wave at you (or not) at the security boom when you drive in to work. They are (you think) at a reception area that you bypass as you walk past more invisible interns or people pushing carts or trolleys on the way to your office. Maybe they are in another building or on another floor with a headset or maybe they are on the executive level. They could probably be those invisible people who make your salary actually appear – even if briefly – into your bank account every month.

I know there are invisible, not respected and unappreciated, hard-working people who actually keep the lights on in this country. They do this with literally invisible leadership in a broken, poorly run parastatal, filled with nepotism, corruption, cronyism, incompetence and cadre deployment. But the lights stay on – most of the time!

So why now? Why is this a thing for me now?

Because I notice, as the old man predicted, everyday as my years add up that I am becoming more and more invisible. I recently became invisible to 50% of the world’s population. Women don’t see me anymore – ever since I added magic, invisible making, grey dust to my hair. My hair doesn’t disappear – I do. I don’t even get the old – disapproving look as they decide I’m ugly, or not their type, as they look away condescendingly anymore. Now they actually don’t even see me. I do not exist. They literally look through me as if I was glass. It is the most unbelievable feeling. I may as well be traffic regulations to a taxi.

Then I turned 50. Major invisible trick! Dynamo has nothing on me. If you wish to disappear like free food at a conference, just become a 50-year-old married man with grey hair. With this trifecta you are so invisible that black holes move away from you.

Then I started disappearing at home. I decided to get a haircut at a proper barber the other day (I usually do a number 3 on myself). The hair artist spent about an hour cutting, trimming, clipping, shaving, combing and even asked, “May I use some product on your hair, Sir?”. He then asked whether I liked his masterpiece to which I replied that if I walked into my home and my wife and children mistook me for George Clooney the haircut would be a massive hit and I would definitely return. It’s been 4 days now since my haircut and no one has noticed. The look on my family’s faces when I read this newsletter to them and they noticed the haircut for the first time – priceless! Good news for my banking account, not so good for the young hair Picasso.

Hardly ever does anyone inquire about my day and how I feel. People look past me in shopping centers and even if dealing with a younger person in stores, they speak in your general direction but not to you. My research confirms that it is worse for women. Women report that they become invisible as soon as they hit 40.   The old man in the restaurant assured me that it only gets worse. People and family only invite you out of duty.  “Well he’s our dad we have to invite him; it’s the right thing to do!” Then they carry on with their party as if you didn’t exist; with the occasional “are you okay, can I get you anything?”  

But I’ve been thinking, as I often do, that maybe it’s not all that bad, this being invisible thing:

  • You can put on weight and eat what you want because no one looks at you.
  • You can get a tattoo of your mother-in-law’s face on your butt because you’re invisible.
  • Grooming is easier and cheaper because people don’t see you as a mark. If they feel they cannot get anything from you, they just leave you alone.
  • You learn to watch and observe a lot more.
  • You speak less or only when you are spoken to, and you tend to measure your responses.
  • You can take a day off and hardly anyone will notice as long as what they usually get from you is still in its place.
  • You don’t have to be the life of the party, and make small talk or conversation. If you don’t even pitch, hardly anyone will notice.

Mostly you get to see other invisible people. You get to notice and feel how they feel, you get to stop and without even a word, see them. And for just a second or two they become. They actually BE and come into sight. Right in front of your eyes! You have the ability to make them appear. TaDa! I see you!  It’s a beautiful thing to watch. And it’s a powerful thing to be the See’er!  

So now I notice, now I see. I make it all appear I make it real. I notice.

  • I see my little girls joy at receiving her full colours or her disappointment when her heart is broken.
  • I notice, and I see the lunch maker, the file creator and the best business partner in the world.
  • I see and I notice the home-cooked meals and the shopping and the time and effort and the love that went into preparing it, and the dishes that disappear after it.
  • I see the new outfits and the gym visits.
  • I notice my little boy’s jokes and the laughter, the punch in the arm as a way to say, I love you dad.
  • I see my little girl’s early-morning dedication, rowing on the lake, and working out in the gym.
  • I see their report cards as a wonderful work ethic that we have instilled in them.

The more I notice, the more I see, the more I build in spite of me. Hey – that rhymes. Maybe it’s not so bad this invisible thing because at the point I disappear others appear. Maybe it’s perfect the way it is. But the older you get the more you realise that it’s not about you, it really never was. It’s about helping other people to shine. It’s about seeing them shine. Helping them and guiding them to shine. Helping others see and be seen, so that they may bask in their moment, visible to all – until it is their time to also disappear.  

So this note is to you Mr or Ms. Invisible where ever you are! Mrs. Invisible Mom, Mr Invisible Dad, invisible friend, invisible chef or accounting clerk. To you the invisible husband or invisible wife, you may not be noticed or you may not feel you are noticed but you are. I see you, if even only through this note, I see you. If you’re happy with being invisible, well that’s just cool, because you get it! We only see what we reflect. Reflect your light, focus your light, bring the light, give light and you’ll make things lighter. Start seeing other people, be the great See’er, the Big Notice’r. The Visible-ater. All people really want is to be seen – to be noticed.  

Love, light and laughter

Your invisible friend

G

PS a small note on children – especially teenagers. They may not see or acknowledge the fetching and they carrying: or the effort to provide the dinners and the lunches; the late nights and all of the worrying. She could never consciously see the 2 o’clock in the morning drives around the block to get her to sleep: or where the R100, that magically appears out of your wallet when he wants to go out comes from, or what it took to get there. These things they may not see but I am sure they felt it – the feel it. After all – what we do out of love is felt more than it is seen. Love is after all an action. We show what we feel and we do what we do to show our love. We do so not out of a need to be seen but as a way to show our unselfish, unconditional love.