Kelly Stone Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

This month I had the privilege of catching up with Kelly Stone. I have been connected to Kelly for quite a while now and have always been impressed with her creative writing skills.

Kelly helps companies create brilliant job advertisements to help attract the right talent to an organisation.

It seems fitting I asked Kelly to share her top 5 tips on how to write with finesse.


Good writing is clear and easy to follow. Here are 5 ways to write with impact at work.

  1. Start a daily journaling habit – Whether it’s one A4 page or you set a 5-minute timer, try to journal every day. Journaling is the best way to unearth your true personal writing voice as you’re writing unfiltered and unedited with absolutely no outcome intended. Meaning, you’re not writing words to impress someone and you’re not writing with a fear of being judged. Thoughts straight onto paper. You’ll also find your creativity flex over time.
  2. Choose the simple words – Corporate writing is *not* academic writing, so avoid stuffing big and puffy words into your sentences because you think it makes you sound smart! You’re actually doing the opposite – and likely confusing your audience.  You’ll want to imagine that you’re writing for 8th-grade level to ensure that your message always sticks. A good way to approach it is to consider your spoken language: If you wouldn’t use a word in speech, don’t use it in your text. Examples? Myriad, utilise, plethora – “Grandma, there’s a plethora of weeds in your rose garden. I’ll utilise the weed spray,”? Nah, I’m not so sure about that.
  3. Write conversationally – Again, thinking about how your spoken language differs from your puffy written style. A conversational tone is easier to read and engage with because it feels like the writer is talking to us directly. For all written mediums, use more contractions and consider the use of second-person POV (you and we). For emails, blogs, social media posts (anything that isn’t a corporate report), consider starting some sentences with conjunctions (and, but, because), to make it feel like a natural conversation flows.
  4. Keep your sentences light and tight – A well written page of text will have sentences of varying word lengths, and paragraphs of varying sentence lengths. Mix it up for sure. As a general rule, try to keep most sentences under 25 words. If your single sentence takes up 5-page lines and a whole paragraph, edit it. Cut out words or cut it into multiple sentences. When you stuff too many words in, you lose the reader in their failed comprehension of your intended message. This is especially relevant for complex topics and concepts.
  5. Inject personality and story – Allow your ‘you-ness’ to emerge on paper because it is much more engaging and authentic for your readers. People connect with personality, not logos. A few ideas to help: metaphors, similes and analogies. If it suits you, pop culture references and puns. For appropriate occasions, weave in your hero’s journey tale from adversity to triumph.


I highly recommend you follow Kelly on LinkedIn, you can check out her profile here:

Veronica Brown Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Veronica Brown is a Justice of the Peace (Qualified), an Academic, Entrepreneur, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at The PR Media Co with over 20 years in public relations, media, and event activation. She holds a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Journalism from Griffith University, a Bachelor of Accounting from the University of South Australia, and a Master of Arts in Writing from Swinburne University. She is currently studying a Master of Laws in Enterprise Governance at Bond University.

Her extensive network sees her involvement as a member of the Prestigious Brisbane Club, Brisbane Racing Club, Destination Gold Coast, The Queensland Country Women’s Association, Queensland Performing Arts Complex, The Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Royal National Agricultural & Industrial Association of Qld.

Veronica has worked with more than 150 local, national, and international brands during her extensive career across several industries including prestige automotive, manufacturing, retail, associations, community, medical, horse racing, finance, tourism, transport, wine, media, food, agriculture, and fashion. She has worked with numerous high-profile brands and is currently working with Professor Jimmy Choo.

  1. Be yourself.  Don’t compromise yourself.
  2. Be authentic.  Authenticity requires vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.
  3. Network. Your network is your net worth.
  4. There are no mistakes.  Just opportunities to do and be better next time.
  5. Be humble in your approach. 

If you are keen to connect with Veronica, you can find her here:

Matt Cooper Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

For this month’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom, it was great to catch up with an ex-colleague who has taken great strides in his career.

I first worked with Matthew (Matt) back in 2008 where we both delivered various projects at Arrow Energy. Since then Matt has gone on to study for an MBA and has taken great leaps up the corporate ladder including recently landing the role of COO at (ASX-listed engineering services company) Verbrec.

Matt is a passionate energy & resource executive with a reputation for integrity and performance. His track record includes successfully developing and operating energy infrastructure projects and resource tenements with budget accountability up to $320M together with capital investment processes focussed on assets valued up to $20bn. His corporate experience has included client-side project and operations management roles together with general management and executive roles with mid-cap engineering, construction & consulting firms.

Matt’s unique blend of practicality, enthusiasm, technical aptitude and commercial acumen is collectively applied to deliver value to his clients and stakeholders alike.

Here are Matt’s Top 5:

  1. Get Yourself a Sponsor – Find someone senior to provide advice and support you. In fact, find 2… You never know when you will lose a supporter to the game of corporate survivor. I was looking forward to a long and distinguished career working for a blue-chip resources company and things were going swimmingly when my (executive-level) sponsor and mentor got ‘speared’ out of the blue. I got a new manager and things went downhill quickly. I subsequently swore that I would always have at least one contingent sponsor.
  2. Grow and Maintain your Network during the Good Times – Because you will likely have to draw on those relationships during the bad times. For a period of about 4 years, I was ridiculously busy working hard and successfully delivering some exciting projects on the client side. When the commodities crash (and subsequent redundancy) came, the only job offers I had was from the network that I had been neglecting. I told myself I would never again neglect my network.
  3. Establish your Core Values and Stick to them – Engage in some introspection, consider your cultural cues and think about how this equates to your core values. Write them down and stick to them. Not only will this provide a valuable touchstone in times of uncertainty, but this is also your brand and represents the most valuable thing you own: Your reputation!
  4. Pareto your time – Map where you spend your time and make sure it is spent with the 20% of people that will contribute to 80% of your performance. Years ago I spent time with a leadership coach who mapped out where I spent my time. It turned out I was spending way too much time helping underperformers improve and nowhere near enough time with my key stakeholders. It was difficult to shift my mindset, but once I did my career really took off.
  5. Book recommendation – One book that really changed the course of my career is Kouzes and Posner’s 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership. In a similar vein to Jim Collins, these authors have utilised the techniques of management science to analyse leadership behaviours and distil down effective leadership into 5 key behaviours. These behaviours have been proven to result in individual and corporate success.

Lata Hamilton Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

For this months Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom I had the pleasure of chatting with Lata Hamilton from Passion Pioneers.

Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, a leading change management firm based in Sydney. Lata is an accredited Change Manager, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, and Executive Coach.

Lata has partnered with some of Australia’s biggest corporations on their major Transformation and Organisational Change projects with fit-for-purpose Change Management strategies and programs. She also supports executives and leaders with change services, leadership training, workshops, and coaching.

Here are Lata’s Top 5:

1. Dream big. One of the things I heard most when I was a grad was that I had to “bide my time” before I could move into more senior roles. So, I left, tripled my salary in the space of 3 years, gained flexibility over my career, and became a thought leader in the Change space. As long as you do great quality work and build good relationships, you can be as ambitious and climb as fast as you want.

2. Leadership. Don’t confuse leadership with management. Anyone who influences and inspires people to change is a leader – any age, any title. Management, on the other hand, is a role in itself and comes with a fair bit of admin. In the past, the only way to progress in promotion and pay was to move into management. It’s why we have lots of managers who don’t actually enjoy leading and coaching teams! Luckily, more paths of promotion are opening up. Figure out which one you want (leadership, management, or both) and go for the roles that fit.

3. Perspective. The biggest organisational change younger generations of workers will face in the coming decade is their roles and work being automated. Remember – if you lose your job, it’s just a job. It was meant to be lost to make way for better roles. Treat yourself like a business, brush yourself off, and upskill or reskill to roles that will be in-demand. People-focused work, leadership, strategy, creativity, and innovation can’t be easily outsourced to machines! It’s your career so it’s your job to keep an eye on changing job market needs and align yourself accordingly.

4. Comfort with change. The pace of change is still speeding up. One of the best things to learn is how people (including yourself) react to change and how you can help smooth that fear, resistance and confusion. The biggest barrier to progress and success is people not being able to deal with change. You need to align the head, heart and gut to bring people on board. Logic and reason may go out the window when change comes knocking.

5. Purpose and pride. If you’re going to work hard, work hard for something that means something to you. There will be no bigger regret than looking back on your life and wondering what you did with the 8 hours a day, 5 days a week over your prime 50 years. Uncover your purpose – what you’re here to do, the experiences you want to have, and the impact you want to make (Executive Coaching really helps with that!). But match that with pride – don’t get stuck on the merry-go-round of achievement. The joy comes when you stand still and take stock and feel awed by what you did, the people you helped, and the life you created.

You can find Lata here:

Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom Janani D’Silva

This month I had the absolute pleasure of spending some time chatting with Janani D’Silva, Associate Director and Graduate Program Manager at Capgemini. I am a huge fan of the work Janani does and the enthusiasm she brings to the development of her graduates.

There is some great advice here that we should all take to heart!

Here are Janani’s Top 5:

1. Just keep swimming. When you start your career, a new job, join a new industry, or even a new project – there will be a period of time you will feel overwhelmed and really out of your depths. This is normal. Happens to everyone who is doing something new. The best piece of advice I can give is, just keep swimming. Take the enormity of what you are facing and break it down into smaller chunks, if it’s a deadline to meet then write out the steps to take you to your end output and take small steps towards it. It is overwhelming to look at the mammoth challenge in front of you, but believe me, when I say – taking one step at a time, slowing down your mind and rationalising what you need to do, it’ll help. If you are still feeling overwhelmed – reach out to someone you trust – like a non-judgemental calm friend to talk about it, or a trusted colleague or manager. Sometimes just talking about it brings clarity.

2. You’ll never get ‘there’ – there will always be a new ‘there’ so enjoy the journey. Have goals, have big exciting ambitious goals. Plan to buy your house by 25. Plan to make your first million by 30. Plan to be a CEO by 40. Plan to be retired by 50. Plan away. But make sure the delicious plans you make your goals a reality. Enjoy every little step, every little win, every little fail that moulds you, stretches you, challenges you, excites you, defeats you, overwhelms you, trips you, and then makes you. That’s the secret. To enjoy the journey because, in this thing called life, it’s not the race to the end. It’s the joy of the small things.

3. Run your own race. A sure-fire way to be unhappy is to compare yourself to anyone else in this world. Really something you need to actively shake out of your system. We are all born into a system, and then schooled in a system, and then work in a system that compares us relentlessly. From rankings at school to performance reviews at work. Don’t let those numbers be the measure of your self-worth and your success. Your success is in the joy you have in your heart. The happiness you have. The laughs you have and the peace you have. So don’t choose a career that kills you to make money that you think will make you happy. Choose something that aligns with your values and makes you feel like you are doing what you’re meant to. You know what you’re meant to – we all feel joy when we are aligned with what our purpose is. Sit quietly and think about the things you absolutely love doing and then do more of those things. Even if you’re in a job that isn’t 100% aligned to exactly what you’re about – find avenues to bring more of those things that you are into your life.

4. Focus on everything that you are and not on everything you aren’t. Identify your strengths and build them up more and more. I find we spend a lot of time trying to fix everything we aren’t. It’s good to strive to be better at things, but everyone has their kryptonite and everyone has their superpower. Know your superpower and use it, use it all you can. Flex those powers and fuel your life and career with those skills. It’s easy to be in awe of people who exude the qualities you don’t have. That’s great. Be in awe of them, celebrate them, tell them, admire them – never ever fall into the trap of despairing and beating yourself up for not being like them. What you see is someone in their element using their superpower. You have yours. Do your own magic – every single person has that, and enjoy the process of finding yours.

5. Everybody is hustling. You know how everyone seems to have it all together? Everyone seems to know what they want to be, who they are, what they want to do when they grow up? Well really – everyone’s working it out, no matter what age. No one knows exactly what they have to do about every little thing every day. Tackle life as you would a jigsaw puzzle. A challenge that is possible, with patience and a bit of thought. When I meet people who are worried about how they’ll do in a new job, I always liken it to a CEO. When someone becomes a CEO for the first time, they don’t know exactly how to do it. They’ve never that that job before. But they work it out. That’s a highly visible, high-pressure job. They turn up, think, and do their best. Every job is like that. You have to show up, think, use the people around you to help and take those steps.

If you are keen to connect with Janani, you can find her on LinkedIn –

Leanne Hughes Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Leanne Hughes – Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

This month we have an amazing Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom from the ever-talented Leanne Hughes!

Leanne is the founder at, where she helps project teams around the world, deliver their results ahead of time. Not only does she facilitate some of the most productive workshops internationally, but she also coaches others on perfecting the art of facilitation.

Leanne is also the host of the amazing ‘First Time Facilitator’ podcast. In her podcast, you will hear stories, tricks and tips from some of the biggest names in facilitation along with other industry heavy hitters from Jordan Harbinger to me (Check out ep 100 and 141).

Leanne is a master of creating powerful group dynamics, presentations and everything in between. Today we are lucky enough to hear Leanne’s advice on facilitation.

  1. Small performances before big performances: Unfortunately, we only really pay attention to mastering our presentation skills when we need it: When we need to pitch an idea to an audience of leaders or share our plans with our department teams.  The best way to prepare for any type of big presentation is to find smaller opportunities, every day, to speak up. If you have daily stand-up meetings, find an opportunity to share a message, volunteer to deliver a lunch and learn session, and contribute your ideas in meetings. You can also practice outside of the workplace – Start conversations with the barista, and incorporate some of the skills you might use in a presentation. The accumulation of these smaller moments will serve you incredibly well for the bigger moments. Wherever you can, take the opportunity to present.
  2. Reality Check: It’s not about you: A quick way to build up your nerves is to think that your presentation is all about you. A quote that helped me break away from this mindset is: “If you stand in service, you won’t be nervous”. Really dig into the minds of the people attending your session: What new skills, knowledge would you like them to walk away with? What experience would you like them to have? Then, re-engineer your presentation to make that happen for your audience. This leads into my next point…
  3. Step away from PowerPoint: We often associate “Presentations” with “PowerPoint”. Break that association! There is no universal/corporate law that a PowerPoint presentation must accompany your presentation. In fact, if you present without a PowerPoint, you’ll immediately stand out! Start with mapping out what your audience might want to think, feel, say or do differently as a result of seeing your presentation (see point 2), then consider the mediums which may help communicate that message: A video, a story an activity where you get your audience to answer a question, a flipchart diagram, bullet points on a palm card.
  4. Try one new thing every time you present: It’s easy to get overwhelmed when considering using new body language techniques: Eye contact, moderating your voice and pace, using your hands. Instead of trying to incorporate all of these different elements into every presentation, simply focus on one thing. The next time you need to share an idea in a meeting, think, “When I do this, I’ll simply focus on looking at everyone in the room” – you can of course apply this to virtual presentations as well, “I’ll use my hands more”, “I’ll use more pauses when I share my story”. Having one point of focus helps you practice, refine and avoid that feeling of overwhelm.
  5. Co-present/co-facilitate: If you’ve ever been SCUBA diving, you’ll know about the buddy concept. If you’re diving into deep water, you have a buddy with you always, who double-checks your gear before you dive in the water, and explores the ocean with you, in close proximity. Sometimes the best way to get your confidence up is to find a colleague who also wants to develop their presentation skills and present together. Co-facilitators can also be great sources of feedback – check in with and ask for their candid feedback. Create a relationship where it’s safe to provide commentary, so you can both rapidly build your presentation skills and ultimately, your confidence!

If you would like to connect with Leanne you can find her here:

Ryan Tuckwood Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Welcome to our first Top 5 for the year and let me tell you this one is a cracker!

Sales skills are an important aspect of EVERYONE’S career. It is not just about selling things if anything it is more about selling yourself and your ideas.

This month we have some great sales advice from one of the worlds leading sales coaches!

Ryan Tuckwood is the Co-founder and CEO of SWISH Sales Coaching.

Ryan and SWISH Co-Founder, Jack Corbett boosted their profile in 2018 appearing on Channel Ten’s ‘Shark Tank’, where they became the first company in Australian history to successfully secure the support of 3 Sharks. On the show, Australian entrepreneurial powerhouses Dr. Glen Richards, Steve Baxter & Andrew Banks all became shareholders & advisors for Ryan & SWISH Sales Coaching. Ryan is now widely regarded as the No1 ethical sales coach on the planet.

Ryan openly admits he was once a reluctant, failing sales professional, struggling initially and at one point sleeping on a friend’s bathroom floor with just 31 cents to his name. After hitting that crisis point, he began studying fanatically and realised that, just like his old career as an engineer, sales was a process.

Fast forward to today where he has now coached almost 6,500 businesses & individuals globally, showing his clients how to close over $1billion dollars in new sales revenue in the last few years alone.

Over the past few years, Ryan has shared the stage or the interview mic with a range of iconic figures, such as Grant Cardone, Jordan Belfort (Wolf of Wall Street), Mark Bouris, Michael Lane and Harry Singha to name a few.

Here are Ryans Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom to help you learn the art of sales:

  1. The biggest mistake sales personnel make is having the wrong intent. Your job as a salesperson is not to make a sale, but rather, to see if a sale should be made. In order to do this you must emotionally detach from the outcome and enter every conversation with a desire to learn more about the prospect. This comes down to always selling with integrity. Never try to force someone to buy something or use manipulative tactics to persuade people into buying. As a sales representative, it is our job to determine if our products can fulfil the needs and wants of our clients and help them solve their problems.
  2. Remember people buy from you first. At SWISH sales coaching we strongly believe in our 300% Rule of Value. Firstly you need to sell YOU (Myself), based on sharing features and benefits as to why people would want to work with you. Be vulnerable, open up, it’s 2021, real recognises real. Secondly, the features and benefits of working with your company. Finally, we sell based on the features and benefits of our products. This is our MCP process: Myself – Company – Product! In that order!
  3. Always follow up, elegantly.  Studies have shown that 80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th engagement. These same studies show that 50% of salespeople don’t ever bother following up! Your aim is to follow up where you try to add additional value to the point where the customer feels compelled to do business with you. Show them how good you are, don’t tell them. Create Contents of Value (COV’s) you can periodically release to prospects that increase both their awareness of you and value in your services.
  4. The first objection you receive is rarely the real one. Sales negotiations are a game between the consumer and the seller. These days’ consumers are very astute and almost feel it is their duty to provide objections to buying. Generally, the first objection given is a reason that ‘sounds good’. It is up to you to get past this initial objection and isolate the real reason for not wanting to buy/move forward. Once you can isolate the real objection you can begin to address their concerns, again, using the 300% rule above.
  5. Always aim to offer multiple options. People love the feeling of having a choice and deciding for themselves. Always offer multiple options on how people can move forward. For a long time now, people have had the mindset of needing three quotes, if you allow them to have these three options from your organisation, they won’t be compelled to look towards your competition to justify the purchase. Also, recognise that we have ‘middle offering syndrome’ whereby when confronted with 3 options, over 85% of people will select the middle one.

Remember, selling is a skill that can be learnt by anyone, no-one is born with it. There is no such thing as a natural-born salesperson and anyone is capable of learning the skills required to become a world-class sales professional if they apply themselves to the skills of the trade.
If you are keen to hear more about how you can refine your sales skills you can follow Ryan here:

Renae Ferris Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Renae Ferris – Personal Transformation Coach

Renae is an inspiring Aussie mum dedicated to her craft and delivering cutting-edge mental skills training that empowers people to get out of their own way. Trained by the worlds leading human behaviour expert Dr John Demartini, Renae’s unique coaching model is a combination of science and philosophy with the essential application of values.

The methodology used proves that although it is easier to look externally for why you’re not achieving the results you want, it is rapidly more effective to work from the inside out.

Working with Renae, clients undergo mental skills training that reveal meaning (purpose) to their life, release their stressors & emotional blocks then equip them to step into their personal power and create the life they were born to lead.
“Life becomes limitless when YOU do” – Renae Ferris

Renae’s top 5 pearls of wisdom:

1. Know Your Values
Every person has a unique hierarchy of values; the specific components of life that are most important/valuable to you, down to that which is least important. To activate your inner genius (which everyone has within them) you must act in alignment with your values. You will maximise your efforts by becoming consciously aware of how what you are doing now is helping you fulfil those values. The more links you have between what you are doing and what is important to you, the more intrinsically inspired you will be to act. As you align your goals and your values you will see your greatest creativity and productivity emerge instinctively. (Warning: External motivation is a sign that what you’re doing isn’t important to you and you will subconsciously find a way to self-sabotage in attempt to realign yourself). Outside influences will constantly tell you the things you “should”, “must”, “need”, “ought to” do, it’s your job to listen to your intuition telling you what you “love to”, “want to”, “can’t wait to” do.

2. Personal Development – “The more you learn, the more you earn” – Warren Buffett
Commit to becoming a lifelong learner. Expand your mind and don’t limit yourself to teachings other people give or offer you. Seek out your own opportunities and things you want to learn about.

There are so many incredible books out there, but if I had to offer a short book list to recommend for someone looking to learn and grow as a person they would be:

  • The Values Factor” by Dr John Demartini
  • The Gratitude Effect” by Dr John Demartini
  • Atomic Habits” by James Cleary
  • Mindset” by Carol Dweck
  • The Law of Success in 16 lessons” by Napoleon Hill
  • You can heal your life” by Louise Hay
  • The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne
  • You become what you think about” by Vic Johnson
  • Change your questions, change your life” by Marilee Adams PhD
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
  • Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

Note: These are all available on Audible if you prefer to listen to Audio.

3. Set Non-Negotiable Daily Habits – “First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” – John Dryden
Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether you want to or not, you will become a product of your actions. If you exercise regularly, you will become fit. If you spend all your money, you will become broke. If you educate yourself, you will become wise. So if you have a goal you want to achieve then start with the end in mind and plan out the small, daily habits that will get you there. Turn your desired actions into automatic habits through consistent action, this will help you avoid the temptations of immediate gratification. Stay consistent and trust the process. It is a universal law that like gravity, cannot be defied.

4. Stop fighting for your limitations – if you do, you get to keep them.
If you want to do something great with your life, the first step is to get on your own damn team. Your life and your abilities are not fixed. Your behaviours are not fixed. Who you were yesterday and who you are today does not have to determine your future. You can CHOOSE who you want to be, what you want to do and what you have. It all starts with what you believe to be true. If you hear yourself in conversation justifying to yourself or others all of the reasons ‘why you can’t do something, recognise that you are fighting against yourself. Even if the substance of what you’re saying appears to be correct based on the evidence you have so far, there is always another way. Colonel Sanders started at age 65 and got rejected 1009 times before selling his KFC chicken recipe. Thomas Edison made 1000 unsuccessful attempts before creating a light bulb. Oprah Winfrey grew up in a poverty-stricken black family in an era of racism, endured sexual assault and was fired from day-time TV, told she was not good enough before turning the lowest-rated talk-show in Chicago into the award-winning Oprah Winfrey show and growing her net worth to over $3 Billion. So, stop telling yourself that YOU don’t have what it takes. If you give yourself permission to wholeheartedly pursue something that is truly meaningful and inspiring to YOU, you will activate greatness inside of you that can endure anything.

5. Challenges are necessary. Suffering is optional.
As you go through life you are going to be confronted with challenges. It has been stated and identified in various studies including biology that maximum growth occurs at the border of support and challenge. Any human who is over-supported in life can become dependant, and those who are over-challenged can become substantially independent. It is not just a cliché but a proven fact that it is our challenges in life that make us stronger. This is why the most successful people in the world actively pursue challenges that inspire them so that they don’t have to fill their day with challenges that don’t.

The challenge is necessary for you to grow. The suffering, however, is not. The suffering is your body’s feedback mechanism to let you know that your reality does not match your expectations. We are constantly trying to predict what will happen and how things will work out, but we don’t always have all of the variables. My advice is, don’t wait for hindsight to see beauty. When you find yourself faced with a challenge that you can’t change, then practice acceptance. But don’t just accept it, embrace it. Accept it as if YOU chose it and seek out the benefits that come with it. The key here is to be flexible in your expectations and turn the challenges into great opportunities. It was William James, the father of modern psychology that said “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their perceptions and attitudes in mind”. If you perceive challenges in a way that they are opportunities and a gift, they will help you come up with creative, new innovative ways to achieve your objective. But if you continue to see your challenges as roadblocks that are “in the way” and not on the way, they will stop you in your tracks and cause you to regress. It is wise to remember that in life the ‘situation’ is NEVER the problem, your reaction and perspective to it is. Any imbalanced emotion can and will run you. Get on top of it and balance out your emotions before making decisions.

If you would like to connect with Renae you can find her here:


Gemma Hudson Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

This month we have an amazing Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom from Gemma Hudson. Go and grab a coffee, kick back and enjoy!

Gemma Hudson is the Director, Customer Success at Salesforce in Singapore. Over the years she has been heavily involved in talent development. Gemma has also spent time on industry group boards, once fulfilling the Director role for the AAGE (Australian Association of Graduate Employers).

I really enjoyed Gemma’s contribution. Here are her Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Build career capital.  Very few of us find what we are passionate about in the first five years of our careers.  In fact, careers are ever-evolving and the core function of your role is likely to change multiple times in your career.  One of the most helpful concepts I have adopted and that I find resonates with many is that of ‘career capital’.  In the first few years of your career, it’s unreasonable to expect to be in your dream job – as long as you are building skills and capabilities that are universally valued, in-demand and that you are learning and experiencing as much as you can, you are building career capital. Skills and capabilities that make you valuable regardless of the role, industry or function you are working in. If you are interested in this topic, read Cal Newport’s ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’.

2. There’s value and opportunity in every role.  Just because it doesn’t have your dream title doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to spend time within a role.  If you find yourself in a role you don’t love or isn’t exactly what you hoped for, look at what career capital you can build in that role.  Are there projects you can own? Opportunity to take on extra duties?  Training and education that will build universally valued skills? A great Manager to learn from?  Even chances to find out what you don’t like in a role, versus what you do like? Don’t be quick to move onto the next thing until you have explored the value and opportunity within every role.

3. Don’t lose sight of finding your passion.  Just because you are focused on building career capital doesn’t mean you need to be in a role you dislike or lose sight of finding something you are passionate about.  It just means that you need to shift your expectations of what your primary focus is in your first few years (or even at various points throughout your career). Explore, experience, learn, have patience, network, build your profile, read, ask questions, have an open mind, have relentless drive – the rest will fall into place.

4. Don’t lose sight of what’s important. When milestone decisions about your career arise, return to what is fundamentally important to you.  This piece of advice may become clearer the further you get into your career.  But the earlier you build your self-awareness and understanding of the key drivers and values within your life, the sooner you will make sustainable, more informed career decisions.  Earlier in your career it may be about adventure, travel and making a difference.  Later in your career, your values may shift to be weighted more strongly towards family, wellness and aligning to your purpose.  Whatever your values are, regularly check-in with yourself to get clear on what’s important to you at that point in time.

5. Have patience, expect to work hard and above all else, have fun.  You may be wondering how having patience and working hard can lead to fun?  Well, often, we aren’t doing all three at the same time and they definitely aren’t mutually inclusive or exclusive.  Each of them, however, are inter-related and are as important as the other.  Successful careers are marathons, built over years of hard work.  Sometimes you get lucky and things go your way without trying much.  But in most cases, we have to embrace being patient and working hard to get to our end goal.  Fun and relationships are critical on the journey – the smiles and laughs along the way are often what gets us through.


If you would like to reach out and connect with Gemma, you can find her on LinkedIn here:

Liz Heathwood Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Liz Heathwood leads global people strategy and change management projects at EY. Initially, Liz started her career as a school teacher, teaching drama and music along with choir, violin and hip-hop dance before pivoting into a Business degree and transitioning into Human Resources. Following her transition to the HR field, she has held high ranking roles at organisations from Visy group to Clayton Utz to her current employer EY. Liz also has a passion for mentoring and sharing her wisdom on panels, podcast interviews and public speaking events.

I absolutely loved Liz’s contribution. Here are her Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom:

  1. Be so good they can’t ignore you – mastery of skills leads to passion, not the other way around. Not my words, but the words of Cal Newport, Georgetown professor and author of ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’.  He takes issue with the ‘follow your dreams’ statements and goes against typical ‘follow your passion’ type statements. But he concludes through scientific research that you are far more likely to be successful by focussing on what you naturally excel at rather than finding something that ‘drives’ you. This resonates with me so much with where I’m at in my career and wish I had this advice at the beginning of my career. I finally feel through my current role and developing my strengths that I’ve found what I’m good at and this leads into my purpose and passion to start to do things outside of my usual role that interests me.
  2. Be bold – earn your credibility through your voice. People don’t get ahead by being a fence sitter. Have a point of view and put yourself out there. I always advise others to do this respectfully of course and at the right time in a conversation but you may be surprised at the response. People like it when you give intelligent thought and comment on things. You don’t always have to agree with them. Challenge their thinking where appropriate and where you think differently. I actually have found it’s a quick way to build credibility with stakeholders because they then value your expertise and perspective.
  3. Think beyond the operational – Jump off the day-to-day mouse wheel. This is applicable for both graduates and leaders. Being strategic is a skill. To be successful you have to get off the wheel, reflect and take stock of where you are at. Sometimes we are so caught up in the day-to-day operations we don’t stop and think about where we are headed. Think big picture, not activities.  Ask questions like: What are we trying to achieve? How will my current actions make me successful? This can be with your career or the direction of a business. Have a plan and be deliberate in your actions in how you are building where you want to get to.
  4. Build your brand – I underestimated this early in my career. I’m not underestimating it now. The power of your brand is crucial to career success. Your next job may not be through a job ad but through the networks around you. Always remember those people you are building relationships with right now early in your career will progress with you and they could potentially become your clients so start cultivating relationships now. Think about what you want your brand to be internal in an organisation and external. This is important. Start small and chip away at it.
  5. Be prepared to learn, relearn and adapt – This one speaks for itself and is the wise words of future of work strategist Heather McGowan in her book ‘The Adaptation Advantage’. It’s all about how we can thrive in the future of work as individuals and as leaders. We must continuously adapt, let things go and embrace new things. Have a hunger for learning. I really believe microlearning is a great and fast way to build your expertise for busy people. I of course love reading but it can be hard when you are busy so I frequently use podcasts as a way to consume learning on the go. There are so many experts out there talking about various topics and best practice you can learn from. It’s a great platform to leverage.

If you would like to hear more of Liz’s advice check out the following podcast episodes:

Or connect with Liz on LinkedIn at

Rebecca Niebler Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

This month’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom come from Rebecca Niebler. Rebecca has a degree in Business Psychology (Germany) and is currently filling the role of Organisational Culture and Support Officer at Queensland Law Society.

Rebecca’s main drivers are to:

  • Help others recognise, own and champion their personal strengths and full potential.
  • Empower her clients to create a mindset that allows them to lead their personal and professional lives with more fulfilment and to unlock higher performance levels.
  • Enable leaders and individuals to identify entrenched and fixed beliefs that no longer serve them, and develop more powerful and positive narratives instead.

Rebecca has 10+ years of practical experience in the field of individual and team-based learning, leadership development and cultural change.

Here are Rebecca’s pearls:

  1. Get off auto-pilot. It is so easy to get completely lost in the never-ending distractions of daily life. We live in an always-on hustle culture and are rushing through our days and weeks, often without ever taking the time to reflect on recent experiences or checking in with ourselves. Make sure you get off the busyness treadmill once in a while and ask yourself: Am I still heading in the right direction? Am I enjoying the process? Does this feel right to me? Do my actions reflect the kind of person I want to be?
  2. Always be a learner. Unless you have a goldmine in your backyard, your precious resources are inside you. Cultivate your curiosity, invest in yourself and your education (this could be in terms of time, energy or financial investment), and treat your skills and knowledge as a constant work in progress. Learning is a life-long thing! Having broad interests and diverse areas of expertise does not only make you a more interesting person to talk to, but it will also open doors for you – many of them leading to options you didn’t even know existed when you first started exploring a new field or exciting topic.
  3. Make gratitude your attitude. Count your blessings, every day. Don’t take your life – your family, your health, your friends, your job – for granted. Too often, we only come to appreciate things (and people!) once we have lost them. Look around you, take stock of your life, realise your privileges. Tell the important people in your life how much they mean to you. It’s no coincidence that the happiest people all have a gratitude practice in their life!
  4. Keep your cup topped up. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and you won’t be useful to others if you are not also looking after yourself properly.  Do not neglect your physical, emotional or spiritual needs – your health and wellbeing are the foundation for everything you want to achieve in life. As a minimum, make time for your meaningful relationships, physical exercise, sufficient sleep and good, healthy food. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s a sign of maturity and that you are taking responsibility for yourself.
  5. Be authentic. To quote Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself – everyone else is already taken”. There is no point in pretending you are someone you are not, or in trying to squeeze yourself into a mould that just won’t fit – it will only stunt your growth, both personally and professionally. Find your niche and proudly own it. This will also attract the right people into your life: the friends, clients and colleagues who want to work with and be around you, accept you for who you are, support and encourage you, and introduce more positive opportunities into your life.

If you would like to connect with Rebecca you can find here on LinkedIn here:

Chris Law Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

This month’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom come from Chris Law, CEO and co-founder of Future Grid. Chris has found amazing success through his relatively short career. Being a dynamic, results focussed engineer, he has quickly ascended the corporate ranks. He has taken his fair share of risks along the way, always betting on his own abilities to get the job done.

Here are Chris’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom:

  1. Plan.  Understand why you are doing what you are doing and how it helps you achieve a goal.  Time is a precious resource so spend it well.  A plan provides a north star for you to follow when obstacles arise, which they will. Ironically by having a plan, you are in a better position to change it because it will help you recognise when and why you need to change it.
  2. Sleep on it – always. I can’t tell you how many tough business problems have been solved by taking the time to think about an approach or strategy rather than reacting to what is in front of me.  I find the concept of the infinite mind introduced by Dale Carnegie a useful tool.  It’s fascinating how sleeping on tough issues allows your brain to iterate more quickly and formulate better solutions – its worked for me many times in fascinating ways.
  3. Effort. You don’t always need to be the smartest person in the room, just the most persistent.  Sure, being super smart is helpful, however never underestimate how lazy people can be within the workplace.  I have often found having a solution with a path to execution is far more powerful than the ideal solution.  It’s about being practical and it’s about working within the constraints of the business. I have found people within businesses know what all the problems are. Listen to them, this is gold. Take this information and plan solutions with them and you will find yourself not just improving the business but building a circle of influence as the go-to-person in the future.
  4. Strengths. Figure out what you are good at.  This may seem obvious but from my experience it takes time through trial and error in different roles. Understanding this will help you understand your key point of difference- this is what you can offer that others cannot. I have often found doing things I’m good at makes me happier. Often I am able to do these things to a level that can really make a difference, which for me is a real motivator.
  5. Always Selling. If you want to make change in the workplace you need to convince others to make it a reality.  One of the hardest things to do in this process is to summarise your concepts into 1-2 slides.  We live in a Twitter world so less is more in terms of content. A game-changer for me in the workplace was the concept of What, So What and What Next model. Developed as a reflection model by Rolfe et. al. in 2001, this approach helps create a laser focus on the problem and why it needs solving.

Nadja Conaghan Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Nadja Conaghan is a trained psychologist, coach, facilitator and resilience champion. Nadja is the founder of Great Minds United where she helps individuals and teams perform to their full potential along with helping build resilience and productivity.

Here are Nadja’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom:

#1 Pace yourself – you have time.
We live in very fast paced world – everything needs to happen now and according to our schedules. We tend to set ourselves very ambiguous and unrealistic schedules about our career and life; and often we compare ourselves to others who seem to be ahead of the game. Time (or the feeling not having enough time) is one of the biggest stressors in our society. The irony is that when you are stressed about time, you cannot think clearly and don’t use your time effectively and are at risk of burnout and compromising on your (mental) health. Take the time that you need and don’t forget to recharge. Life is a marathon not a sprint. Enjoy the journey and do not use up all your resources at the beginning.

#2 Be mindful of your priorities and watch your work-life balance.
There will be times in your life where your career is your top priority – this is especially true for most who start their career. Be mindful of what your priority is and why – which helps you to keep focused, motivated and resilient in adversity. At the same time keep an eye on the other areas of your life – e.g. (mental and physical) health and personal relationships – to ensure that you do not neglect them and permanently damage these areas for your career. The Wheel of Life is a great tool that may help you to reflect on your priorities and create a balanced life.

#3 Embrace your imperfections and seek learning opportunities.
If you do something for the first time, it is okay and totally normal to be not perfect. Indeed, no-one expects you to be and often we are our harshest and biggest critic. Be kind to yourself when you face setbacks. Reflect on your “failures” by seeing the lessons and actively seek opportunities to grow and learn. Practising self-compassion and a personal growth mindset are typical for resilient people.

#4 Stay curious, open-minded and flexible.
Be curious and open-minded and genuinely interested in others and what they do and the different ways of doing things. When you are too focused on a specific career path, you may miss out on opportunities and fun. If you always go the straight path and never explore what is around, you may resent your career and others who are happier and have more opportunities. I found that every little detour made sense to me looking back and got me on the path that is meant for me. I am not saying that you should not pursue your dreams – quite the opposite. What I ask of you is to keep an open mind and be flexible, especially when things are difficult when we try to achieve our goals. Being flexible and open-minded will help you to see alternatives and opportunities rather than obstacles, find solutions and overcome adversity – i.e. be resilient.

#5 Find and seek advice from your mentors.
I am a big believer that you cannot do everything on your own and that your support network – be it your colleagues, family and community – is your biggest resource and the key for your success and being resilient. Especially for your career and life in general, mentors are so valuable. In hindsight, I had many great and inspiring (mostly informal) mentors who supported me throughout my life, helped me to see a different perspective and shared their life lessons with me, so I don’t make the same mistakes. One piece of advice I got when I started my career was that the way I show up in the first few days in a new job, determines how I will be perceived and treated by others. If you are the first and last in the office, your boss and colleagues expect that you are always available and work long hours.

Nadja consistently puts out great content on her LinkedIn profile. I recommend you connect with her here:

Sally Prosser Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

It’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom time and this month we are sharing some great insight from Sally Prosser.

Sally Prosser is one of Australia’s leading voice and speaking coaches.

As a former TV journalist, Sally reported for Channels 7, 10 and the ABC before crossing over to public relations (the dark side!) and taking on the role of spokesperson for Urban Utilities. Prior to her broadcast career, Sally ran a successful Speech & Drama studio and holds a licentiate teaching diploma in the field. Sally also has university degrees in journalism and law!

These days Sally has taken on more entrepreneurial pursuits founding Sally Prosser Voice, where she helps people speak with confidence, clarity and charisma.

Sally is also the host of That Voice Podcast which offers heaps of practical tips as well as interviews with people from all walks of life about what their voice means to them.

Sally’s also built a following of more than 200K people on TikTok. You can follow her @sallyprosservoice.

Here are Sally’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom to help you find your confident, authentic voice:


Your real voice is a megaphone for your inner voice.

You don’t want those pesky negative thoughts to sabotage your voice before you even make a sound.

I recommend writing mantras, saying them aloud and making recordings of them. Feel free to pinch this one – I’m grateful for the opportunity, they want to listen to me, I deserve this space!


Imagine you’re wearing Victoria’s Secret angel wings – yep, blokes too!

Your shoulders will come back, your head will rise up and you’ll create a visual that you take up more space than your body.

This does wonders for your posture, your confidence and the energy you bring into any room.


Oxygen fuels your voice. Are you speaking on almost empty?

Shallow breathing really kicks in with nerves! You want the air to get in low and deep – your tummy should expand. Imagine you’re breathing into your buttocks – yep, you won’t forget that in a hurry!

It’s also important to breathe out while you’re speaking. Sounds obvious, but I hear a lot of people – especially under pressure – speak while holding their breath.


Nobody is born a brilliant speaker. It’s a learned skill.

I’m often shocked by the number of people who go into an important presentation or an interview or a tough conversation without practising.

It’s like running a race with no training – you’re never going to reach your potential if you don’t do the prep work.


If you don’t love the sound of your voice, how can you expect others to?

If you don’t feel your voice has influence, how can you expect it to have influence?

Your voice is like a pet. Show it attention and treat it well and it will love you back.

One of the best ways to love your voice is to warm it up every day.
Check out Sally’s free one-minute voice warm-up here:

Join Sally on TikTok:

For more info on how Sally can help, head to

Kate Hinton Top 5

Kate Hinton – Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom:

It’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom time and this month we are sharing some great insight from Kate Hinton an educator, facilitator, coach mentor and andragogy enthusiast.

Kate is passionate about developing others personally and professionally to help them grow successfully in their careers. She has a demonstrated history of working in the classroom along with school leadership. Kate is highly skilled in coaching, mentoring, building teacher capacity, facilitation of adult learning, leadership development and strategic planning.

Over the past few months, I have given myself permission to take time to understand more deeply who I am personally and professionally. This has allowed me to lead more from the heart and foster my style of leadership through actions and words. The critical element to my growth is being deliberate towards inviting support with what I need, and staying steady with what I want.
This year I am all about the STRETCH! Stretching my mental strength, and stretching my capability to get uncomfortable, take a risk, be the advocate for others and remove self-doubt. In a snapshot, I am attempting the 5 following attributes to lead from my heart:

  1. Be committed – Stretching others and stretching myself to make deeper connections in the work and with people.
  2. Be resilient – Rather than fearing a possible failure, acknowledge and embrace the learning challenge.
  3. Be present – To myself in filling my cup with joy, peace and fun. For others virtually or face to face, but regularly. To listen and connect with their emotions.
  4. Be of service – Doing this with hope and compassion. Be the smile, the resource, learn and discern with respect.
  5. Be courageous – Just be me! Be brave enough to take a step and then take a few more, knowing that what I am doing is who I am and that’s ok.

To be true to my STRETCH, I need to be kind to myself and kind to others, always.

Kelly Pfeffer Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

It’s Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom time and this month we are sharing some great insight from one of Australia’s leading personalities in the graduate recruitment and development space.

Kelly Pfeffer has been specialising in the graduate recruitment and development space for over 10 years and has managed programs in Queensland Government, Suncorp, TechnologyOne and GHD.  Actively engaged in the industry in Australia, Kelly has also volunteered on the Board and Committee of the Australian Association of Graduate Employers.


  1. Adversity can be a good thing – difficult situations will arise no matter who you work for or how experienced you are.  Whether it be organisational change, your project is cancelled or something happening in your personal life, some of our greatest lessons come from facing tough times and realising what you can still achieve.  Rather than focussing only on the negative (because we all will in varying degrees), take time to reflect on what happened, how you handled it and what you might do differently next time.  Knowing the best way to care for yourself is also a great thing to think about now.
  2. Not all leaders are created equal – when I was younger, I immediately looked up to anyone more senior to me.  What I worked out eventually (after working for a few different people) is that not all leaders are awesome at being leaders.  I think when you work this out, it makes it easier to adapt and work within the team environment you find yourself.  Managing upwards is an important skill to be aware of and learn more about.  In addition, different tools that help you to identify your communication preferences, how you like to work, and your strengths etc. will help you to better understand yourself and those around you and in turn you can adapt and adjust to different situations you find yourself in.
  3. Learn through others – whether this is through colleagues, leaders, mentors or family it really does not matter as long as you open your mind to different perspectives and leverage the experience of others.  Not all of it will be relevant all the time, but you will be surprised when and how often you draw on that knowledge.  I do a lot of reading and scanning of information written by people that I relate to and who I find inspirational.   I prefer reading biographies to business specific books, as I enjoy learning from the experiences and lessons learned of others rather than books focussed on telling you how to do something.  LinkedIn is also another great platform to follow people that you admire.
  4. Be patient – not everything happens as quickly as you want, particularly when it comes to your career.   You will be working for a long time, so do not think you need to achieve everything in the first five years.  As you mature, your interests will change, as well as your outlook on life, and so your career will move with these changes.  One of my favourite sayings is from Ralph Waldo Emerson “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”.   I am in a job now that I never knew existed when I was 20.  It has taken me a few lateral moves and saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities to find the purpose I now have in my career.
  5. It is OK to ask for help – not everyone knows everything all the time, nor can we navigate through every situation smoothly and without mishap.  Asking for help when we really need it is not a sign of failure.  If anything, if done well, it also empowers the people around you who are willing to help and support you.   Having a mentor (either formally or informally) can be a great support early in your career.   I have found mentors in my life have taught me in many ways, either through me observing their behaviour, or challenging my way of thinking or approaching certain circumstances. Remember, a good mentor will not ‘give’ you the answer, but help guide you to come up with the answer yourself.


Andrew David Courtney Pearls of Wisdom

I recently met with Andrew Courtney and it quickly became apparent that he had a wealth of knowledge to share.

Andrew is a strategic financial advisor at Plenitude wealth. Plenitude Wealth is a holistic wealth management firm that is dedicated to making a positive change to the financial landscape of Australia and ultimately the world through creating an educational foundation of social awareness, enterprise and social consciousness. Their aim is to create a movement that will aid in the fight against limiting beliefs & absolute & relative poverty by utilising existing financial instruments everyday families can use.

Andrew David Courtney – Plenitude Wealth – Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Audit your daily habits – We are creatures of habit. If you’ve tried to make a change recently and failed, you’re not alone. I’ve literally failed to build all of my current habits at least 10 times each before I locked them down. What makes the biggest difference in habit building is how you deal with failure and what you do right after you fail. The most important habit as far as I’m concerned is to learn to embrace failure as a sign of progress, learn the lessons, move on from the set back and try and try again. Now why am I talking about habits so much, you may ask? Well, your habits in life define who you are and who you are going to be therefore if you overlay the financial context in your habit building process, you’ll find the same kind of result in the back end of your financial journey. Make sure that every habit you have is moving the needle toward your goals, not away. This is binary and results come at you like an avalanche when you understand and live by the fact that it is binary.

2. Audit your language patterns – Negative self talk is one of the most deviant ways to sabotage your progress. Always use empowering words and recalibrate the message you tell yourself when you’re learning from your mistakes. Beating yourself up is not going to help because everyone else is already doing that. Be your number one fan, block out everyone else’s opinion in your life and choose who your influencers will be. The beauty of the world we live in today is we’ve had an unprecedented amount of information freely available to us at a click of a button so use it to your advantage. Ask yourself what your chosen person/people would do in the exact situation you are in and play the game at a different level. Choose your internal dialogue wisely is a big takeaway. Going off the back of that, the words you use in everyday conversations can also impact the results you get from increasing your influence, getting a result you’ve always wanted, making new friends, empowering yourselves and others and making a difference in people’s lives. Words are powerful. Use the right ones and set yourself up for the pathway to success.

3. Always plan ahead – I have never heard of anyone successful who did not have a plan. The key steps to take are: know where you are today, know where you want to be and make the necessary changes to get to the end point. This is called planning. Now if you constantly ask yourself what can I do to make my progress go faster or how can I make it better? You are bound to effect the changes one needs to make to create a synergistic tidal wave of results that comes from patiently tinkering at your craft to make it better. Financially, you’ll need to know what capital you’ll need to produce the income you desire at the back end of your investment career. Set yourself a “goal”, a “stretch goal” and a “scary as all hell goal” and run it against a timeline. Be ambitious and be prepared to change course if you’re not on track. Goals are not meant to be set in stone but be as flexible as you need them to be. It doesn’t make any sense to keep an old goal that is not aligned to your current values. Reverse engineer the ideal outcome and use all the available resources you have at your disposal. If you’re not aware of the resources, get help. No highly successful person got there alone. It makes sense to build a solid team around you. The sooner the better!

4. Your network is your net worth – Start building your network and nurturing the relationships you deem worthwhile. Yes it sounds Machiavellian but it makes a hell of a lot more sense to keep the contacts you have that you can have a relationship of mutual benefit rather than a one sided affair. Protect your time and only spend it with people who are making you happy, helping you, providing you with support and an overall feeling of positivity. It’s just not worth filling your mobile full of numbers that are negative influences in your life. Just like habits, treat this exercise as a binary one. People are either helping you or hindering you in achieving your lifestyle and financial goals. Choose who you spend your time with wisely as the people you surround yourself with will ultimately determine what kind of future you are going to have. Find a way to build three groups in your life: your peers, a group of people you can mentor and a group of mentors. Having all three groups in your life will allow you to see your life from a different perspective and save yourself a bunch of time.

5. Audit your finances and always optimise for a synergistic outcome – Learn from others who have gone down the path you’re heading toward. Push the boundaries by being open to ideas that make sense and ensure you are pushing yourself past your financial comfort zone. The status quo is very alluring for most people and can certainly feel very comfortable. I can tell you right now that no one who is comfortably down the path of status quo feels anywhere near financially resilient. Your aim should be to become financially flexible, free and resilient. Now this is different for all of us as your lifestyle choices will dictate what level of capital (savings) you’ll need to produce the income you want. What I suggest you do is to make sure you live within your means and challenge yourself to save 1% more every month. If you do this, it will take you 4 years to get pretty close to saving 50% of your income which is more than enough for you to achieve all of your financial and lifestyle dreams in the back end of your investment career. Don’t succumb to thinking that your career is 35 years long. People overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years. It’s amazing to see what is possible if you set the right financial habits from the start of your career and learn from professionals who walk the walk.

Andrew regularly posts lots of valuable content on his social media channels. I strongly recommend you connect:

Instagram account @andrewdavidcourtney

YouTube Channel:


Jason Daniel Pearls of Wisdom

Earlier this month I had the privilege of interviewing Jason Daniel – Founder and Director of LSKD. It was an amazingly insightful chat with so many valuable takeaways.


Jason began his career as a carpentry apprentice. He also had a huge passion for action sports and racing as a pro motocross athlete. Back in 2007, working from his mums’ bedroom, Jason launched LKI releasing some caps, shirts, apparel and stickers. Three years later he managed to hang up his tool belt and take the plunge into running his business full time.


Jason’s journey over the past 13 years has had its fair share of challenges. The brand has gone through three major rebrands over this time, recently changing the name to LSKD. This move has opened up a much larger demographic and catapulted the business to become the fastest growing wheels and water lifestyle brand in Australia!


Jason has managed to build an amazing following through the hugely recognisable LKI/LSKD branding. Their vision and mission is clean, crisp and totally inspiring. It was amazing to hear Jason’s journey, the struggles as well as the massive wins. Personally, Jason has been on a massive journey of discovery, his management style has been refined over the years and he is proud of the culture he is fostering within the LSKD offices. The employees are growing with the brand and are a massive part of their success.


Proudly, Jason has built LSKD to what it is today. Following other brands is not his style; instead choosing to carve his own path and helping his followers to follow their passion. He has built a brand ethos around the feeling you get when you are engaged in the sport you love or chasing the vibe. For me this feeling can be summarised as the feeling when I put my motorbike helmet on. My brain switches off, heart rate accelerates and I slide into a flow state, purely focussed on pacing my bike as fast as I can around the track. This is the feeling I remember when I see the LSKD logo – for this reason alone I am happy to wear a LSKD shirt any day of the week.


Here are Jason’s pearls of wisdom that I extracted from our chat.

  1. Find the right mentor – over the years I have had many different mentors, ranging from trade based, real estate and brand development mentors. I think it is critical to find mentors that have been where you want to go. No single mentor will be ‘for life’; you need to find new people to guide you as your journey unfolds. Your mentor shouldn’t seek anything in return; they should purely want to see you succeed
  2. Listen and act on the advice given by mentors – If someone you look up to gives you advice, try it out and give them feedback. If you ignore their advice, chances are they won’t be as willing to provide assistance in the future.
  3. Ask yourself why – Why are you are passionate about what you do? Why do you love your industry, your business, your job? When you can articulate why you do what you do, you can sell the emotion associated with it.
  4. Chase the vibe – This is the motto of LSKD, it is what we are all about. We want people to feel like they are a part of a movement when they wear our brand. Figure out what your personal vibe is and follow it.
  5. Read/listen to Little Black Stretchy Pants by Chip Wilson – This book has been an absolute game changer. I have listened to it over 4 times now and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Other great courses that I received great value from are the Landmark Forum and Tony Robbins. They were transformational to say the least!
  6. Starting a business can be a lonely journey – During the early stages there will be some tough times. Times where people don’t want to buy your product. People close to you won’t believe in you and others may even laugh at you. During these times it is more important than ever to be focused on your why and learn to believe in yourself. Again it is crucial to have great mentors in your corner during these times.


Check out the LSKD website here:


Chase the vibe everyone!


Rapid Mentoring - Jason Daniel Pearls of Wisdom

Sarah Perrens Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Sarah Perrens – Top 5 pearls of wisdom

Sarah Perrens is EY’s Head of Graduate Recruitment for Oceania.  Her career has taken her from the UK to New York and now Sydney is where she calls home. During her 12 years at EY she has engaged with both ends of the career spectrum from those who are starting out; attracting and onboarding graduates; to managing the Partner Pipeline Program, an experiential learning journey for Directors on their path to be Leaders of the firm.

Here’s Sarah’s 5 pearls of wisdom;

If I was to give my younger self advice or to others starting out in their career:


1. Mindset over skill set
With technology progressing faster than ever, most of the skills you are learning today are at risk of being irrelevant in the near-to mid-term future. As a result, success is increasingly being defined not only by your skill set, but also by your mindset.  AT EY we stress the importance of a global, analytical and innovation mindset.  These are the mindsets that will best help you navigate a global marketplace, use data to make decisions, solve the problems and seek opportunities that don’t yet exist.  Your career will evolve numerous times, so get ready for a life-long learning journey.

2. Find your purpose
When I graduated University, I landed what I thought was my dream job as a trainee HR Manager on one of the most sought-after UK Graduate Programs.  I soon realised I didn’t want to be a HR Manager, but I loved the recruitment side of the role.  I would tell my younger self that your first job is not your last job, it’s an opportunity to experiment, explore and help you make decisions to get you closer to that dream job.
Now inspired by the work of Simon Sinek, who educates people on the importance of finding their why and their purpose in work and life, I encourage others to follow his guidance and reflect as far back as childhood on the activities you have always enjoyed and the things you are good at. This is where you start to build a picture of where your strengths lie and can start directing yourself to embark on the activities that light you up both in life and your career.

3. Live and work overseas
Family and friends thought I was crazy to leave my job and its prospects to take an internship in New York.  It turned out to the best decision I ever made, personally and professionally, combining work with exciting new travel experiences.   Building a new life overseas can be challenging, which is why not everyone does it.  But the rewards are outstanding and it really broadens your horizons and outlook.  So step out of your comfort zone and do it.
With globalisation, multinational companies such as EY encourage employees to gain international experience.  It helps them build a global mindset, knowledge of global markets and cultural awareness.  Research indicates that these attributes are critical to be a leader in a global world.

4. Opportunities don’t land in your lap
I was excited to join EY with the prospect of overseas opportunities; however the programs and openings were generally directed at client facing staff.  The advice I now give to the junior staff is to seek and ask for opportunities, don’t wait for them to come to you.  And what’s the worst that can happen, they say no! I caveat this with asking when you have built up enough value in your ‘work bank’ (tenure, performance, relationships).  I was lucky that EY said ‘yes’ to a two-year international secondment to Australia.

5. Treat yourself like a VIP – The only person who really cares about your career is you.
As a marathon runner, I know that persistence and dedication is critical to success in work and life and the best rewards and achievements are never easy and never achieved by luck alone.  However life is short and it’s important to regularly take stock of the goals you want to achieve in life and to recognise when a particular path is no longer challenging you, rewarding you or helping you grow, be that a role or relationship.  Take a flexible approach but know when it’s time to expect more for yourself and seek it.

Steph Clarke Top 5 Pearls of Wisdom

Steph Clarke is a modern day Superwoman! After leaving the confines of a stable corporate career spanning over 13 years at EY where she pivoted from auditing to learning and development, Steph has gone full ‘solopreneur’ launching her own facilitation business.  She is a Board member for Laneway Learning, hosts her own totally awesome podcast called Steph’s Business Bookshelf and to top it off, ‘moonlights’ as a spin and Pilates instructor on the side.

As a facilitator and team coach she works with teams to not just identify the behaviours and strategies that will make them successful, but stick to them.

Using a facilitated process, teams engage in interactive discussions on their potential and how they can contribute to achieving this through the conversations they need to have and building better daily habits for working together.

Steph has a wealth of knowledge to share. Here are her top 5 pearls of wisdom to help your career.

  1. Learn to teach and teach to learn: nothing will accelerate your career like a habit of learning.  Find something that interests you and go deeper through books, courses, work experience, shadowing, coaching, mentoring… the list is endless.  Don’t keep your learning to yourself – share whatever you learn with those around you.  Not only is this a good thing to do but it will also embed your own learning as you have to explain the concepts and ideas.
  2. Buck conventional wisdom: my two greatest career decisions have been the ones that other people questioned the most; 1) not going to university and 2) moving from accounting into L&D.  Only you know what’s right for you and other people’s insecurities or opinions aren’t always very helpful.
  3. Nothing is permanent: thinking that every decision you make is stuck forever can quickly drive inaction, avoidance and freak-outs.  Take everything as an experiment that can be tweaked and adjusted along the way – and enjoy the ride.
  4. Experience first: don’t get hung up on rank or titles. I’ve seen so many people lose themselves over not getting a promotion, or not take an opportunity because it will put them back for promotion for an extra year or two.  They totally forget about the work they’re doing and the experiences they are getting.  We’re going to be working a lot longer than previous generations (something I find very exciting) so put things in perspective; seek out the experiences you want (for life and your career) and have those conversations, don’t chase the titles.
  5. Find your people: surround yourself with the best people.  Look for the good humans who will support you, challenge you, make you laugh, celebrate with you, tell you when you’re wrong, and help you raise the bar and (most importantly) who you can do the same for.