Potterings Blog

Pottering around life's issues, a little digging here, some fertilizer there, pruning to stimulate new growth and generally cultivating people's potential to blossom. Your comments are always welcomed.  
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Stress, Mums and Coffee Shops


Stress, Mums and Coffee Shops

I spend a lot of time working in coffee shops – one in particular but often in others. Fascinating to watch the changing of the guard at various times of the day. This blog focuses on the changes that occur soon after school commences and the other soon after school finishes for the day.

Morning shift. Mums (sometimes dads but usually mums) with children whom (I assume!) are not yet old enough for school or kindy. Babble of mums /children discussing what they want to eat or drink (usually both). Choices discussed (argued?) selections made, table chosen. Noise continues until the order arrives at the table.   Peace reigns while selections consumed. Paper and crayons appear and art classes begin (basic, but creative).

Afternoon shift. Same scenario, just older children – discussion (definitely more arguments than in the morning shift), choices made, table chosen (by the children), noise continues but this time unabated when order arrives. Books and pens emerge. Homework has these days become CoffeeShopWork as parents and children go into study huddles (Memo to coffee shop: “Do Not Disturb” signs could be popular).

My point?   On almost every one of these occasions there is a moment where I see mum visibly relax, perhaps even give an audible sigh of relief and peace. Even if it is only for a few minutes they are precious “me time” moments in her constant 24 hour day. Of course even more so if she is sharing the coffee shop experience with other like-minded parents.  

My message? Time cannot be deficit-budgeted but energy can. A little re-charged mental energy goes a long way. Spouse to note that the more often the primary care-giver has chances to generate renewed mental energy (not just in the coffee shop!), the greater her/his resilience to cope and the stronger the family bonds.

Giving Staff Their Right to Blossom

I was once appointed to a new position as the Publicity Manager for a government organisation. My staff were to include the Librarian and the Reception staff. 


  • Providing answers to public enquiries was the responsibility of various professional staff in a diverse range of areas. These specialist staff also produced and stored their own publicity brochures. 
  • The job of the reception staff was to simply refer phone and counter enquiries to the relevant specialist officer. If the specialist was in the field (a necessary part of the work) the enquiry had to wait until the officer was next in the office

Clearly significant changes needed to be made. I instructed that the following steps be taken:

  • All brochures to be centrally stored within the Publicity Unit, for my staff to manage including stock control and arranging reviews before re-printing.
  • Reception staff to themselves provide answers to all but the more complex enquiries (remembering these reception staff were generally low-paid with little opportunity to use their initiative)
  • The Librarian would use her information skills to supervise day to day publicity services.

The transition caused some ripples throughout the organisation at first (some feeling their patch was being invaded). My hitherto under-appreciated staff went into mild panic too, wondering how they would ever learn the answers to public enquiries.

Yet within weeks the new arrangement was up and running well. How come? I had given my team the responsibility and authority to establish the new system and make it work.  If I saw gaps in their proposal I would respond with “ good thinking, but what would you do if such and such happened?” leaving them to work out the answers. Because the staff created it themselves they felt they owned it. They had proved they were up to the task and greatly appreciated having their abilities valued. The specialist staff were in awe of how well – and how quickly - it worked and how much better the new arrangements were serving them and their clientele.

You want to get the greatest productivity, commitment and job ownership from your people? Give them the responsibility and the authority while still being ready to back them when problems occur. You will be rewarded with faithful, reliable and committed staff who take pride in what they are doing. And not unexpectedly, you still get the kudos for the results your team produce.    

Ageism feeds on our daily actions

As parents of teenagers/young adults, we so often sit back and let them take over the high-tech responsibilities in the home or in other family situations.  We like to encourage them to learn and gain confidence in their abilities.  But in doing so are we at the same time affirming the concept of ageism? that we are in effect saying to them "I am too old for this?" Or "I would rather leave it to the enthusiasm of youth"?  It takes little for the younger person to quickly believe they know better than the older people not just in home high-tech but in everything. 

Maturity brings with it the responsibility to teach and lead the younger generation on how to exist, grow and manage their lives in this rapidly changing world.  Ageism feeds not on the enthusiasm of youth but on older people who decide its all getting too hard!

Cultures are built not on the major breakthroughs but on the subtleties of our daily actions and beliefs.

Hear me live on Tuesday 26 December

I will be live on Adelaide Radio 5AA on Boxing Day. I have a regular half-hour segment each Public Holiday on Michael Keelan's Weekend program on Adelaide Radio 5AA. (AM1395). If you are anywhere in the world outside of Adelaide you can pick it up live on the 5AA website:https://www.fiveaa.com.au/fiveaa-player  (the livestream doesn't work with Firefox browser).

My next chat with Michael will be this coming Tuesday 26th December (Boxing Day) from 7am - 7 30 am Australian Central Daylight Savings Time. I know it is early and straight after Christmas Day but you can still have your lay-in while you listen.

Michael and I have a lot of fun and we make it easy listening. The program is interactive so you are welcome to phone in with a comment.

Meantime, have a wonderful Christmas Day.

You Are Significant

To understand your true self, your abilities and your significance in the world, look no further than a mature tree in your neighbourhood. As a rule of thumb the root system of that tree is one and a half times the height and width of what you can see. The hidden root system means everything to that tree:

  • the breadth and depth gives the tree the stability it needs to withstand the constant battering of winds and storms
  • Is ever-searching far and wide for everything the tree needs for its energy and nutrients to live a flourishing life

The tree doesn’t stop growing at some pre-determined age. It continues for as long as its health and supporting ecology allows and makes no work/leisure distinction for its growth. It provides a home, shelter and resources for all in nature that need it. A tree that ages well is called significant - a guardian of wisdom and dignity, inspiring us all.

You were born with unique natural hidden strengths on which the real you depends for your resilience, growth and the right to flourish. Like the tree, your seed carried all you need to become a person of unique significance.  It's a process that never stops, for as long as you remain healthy and have the support of those who love you.

As you decorate your Christmas tree this year, I trust that the joy and peace it brings to your home reflects something of your own life's continuing development and significance.

Have a great stress-less holiday break :)

Enjoy Asserting Your Difference

There has never been - nor will there be - another person exactly like you. Your uniqueness is your strength and the core of your life choices. It's the essence of everything that drives your deepest sense of life enjoyment, satisfaction and purpose.

A key principle in my years as a Recreation Planner was never to impose my values on a client's recreation preferences. Your right to choose what you enjoy is fundamental to what makes you different. This led me to the principle in my lifestyle mentoring services that everything you enjoy in life (not just recreational) reflects the real you.

This challeging world desperately needs your unique first-in-human-history differences, strengths, abilities, drive and perspective.  These express what you truly enjoy in life.

Enjoy asserting your difference.

Are you, or someone you know, planning for retirement or experiencing a yearning for a lifestyle change?This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. how I can help you. Or click here to read more.

Life Re-invents You

It happened a few months after I found my Recreation Planning career had come to an end. I was  sitting in my home thinking "if I sat here all day, no one would give a damn". The only person who could do anything about it was me.  But what?

I had recorded some of my leisure philosophies in my book "Enjoy Being You".  A team leader for a large private company said she loved the book, that she was having real stress problems with her team and could I run a workshop based on my book?  'Why not?' I thought. I said 'yes' and hastily put some material together.  The workshop was an outstanding success in every way. I had not re-invented my life, life had begun to re-invent me.

From your mid-life on, any life change is going to be significant, one you will consider with great care. You will be considering not so much  what you have done but what you have the potential still to achieve. You will want to be aware of all your talents (known and latent), abilities and passions that creatively express and drive the real you. Only then will you be ready when a new road opens along which you might travel -   and perhaps, as I did, 'a road less travelled'. 

Click here to read more about my services and about my free no-obligation 30-minute “A Glimpse into the Future You” consultation.

The Value of Vacations

Burnout is a product of an imbalance of energy in and energy out. We all need a harmonious mix of what we have to do (energy-burning) and what we love to do (energy-generating). An energising leisure interest in today’s world is one that creatively expresses your natural talents for the sheer intrinsic enjoyment of the experience. Such an interest can generate sufficient energy to cope with long periods of stressful responsibilities (which is why I don’t use the word ‘balance’ that suggests equal time).

We talk about a fifth of the population having mental health issues. My focus is on keeping the other four-fifths mentally fit - the sort of mental fitness that sustains strong personal growth and positive behaviour. People who say they love their job so much that they don’t need leisure interests need to have a good look at the literature on the effects of workaholism. Work contains an energy-burning stress factor that needs to be regularly countered by a mentally-energizing complementary leisure interest.

A harmonious mix of energy-in and energy-out interests is the way to go. It's not how long a vacation should be but what it does for sustaining your mental fitness.

Don't Retire - Re-invent Your Life

One of the factors causing working people to fear the prospect of no longer being engaged in a full-time job is the perception of spending all your time doing things you used to call leisure. This fear is even greater if, during your working life, you had little time for or interest in leisure activities. Thirty years or more of nothing but the ‘leisure interests’ you have pursued to take your mind away from your work can be a pretty depressing thought.

It’s a perception of leisure that has existed since the 19th century Industrial Revolution. Interestingly it is historically a wrong perception. The Latin derivation of the word ‘recreation’ is recreare – to create anew...to re-create yourself.

I have long advocated that leisure in the 21st century is not ‘free time’ but rather an experience of the mind and recreation as the creative expression of your natural talents and passionate interests, for its intrinsic enjoyment.  Add to this the potential to use those talents to contribute meaningfully to something bigger than you (with or without payment) that you freely choose to do. Now you have the basics of a much more acceptable vision of the potential those many years left can offer if and when you decide to quit full-time work.

From today I am pouring all of my professional knowledge, experiences and insights of the past 40 years into the theme of “Don’t just retire….re-invent your life…re-create your true self”. I am preparing a range of services around that theme.  It is my way of giving back.

Try my free, no obligation, 30 minute consultation in person, by phone or via Skype. You will learn something interesting about your true self.  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Asserting Your Authentic Self

My People Gardener philosophy has always been based around developing your authentic self - the person who looks out at the world through your eyes. Your strength is in your personal mix of natural talents, passions and potential to contribute something new and different to the world. 

The trouble is, life gets in the way, diverting us in directions we think an economic rationalist world demands us to take if we are to survive.

Through all of this however, your unchanging authentic self is your natural energising resource that drives your personal growth, resilience and enjoyment of life.

The natural way to be in charge of your life's direction is to assert your authentic self. More than just strengthening your ability to cope with whatever comes your way, it's the way to positively create the next chapter in your life.

Simple Isn't Complicated, We Just Make It Complicated

There is little doubt that we humans like to make things complicated. We think of all the pluses and minuses on issues, the potentials and the drawbacks and, based on our best knowledge, we come to a decision.

Ask a child and you will get a direct answer – and so often it's the best answer.   We men dismiss women’s use of intuition but again so often it produces the right answer.

For example, who is your clientele? You do surveys, talk to lots of people, sort the answers and still you’re not sure you have come up with the right target market. Who’s bought your product/service lately? Isn’t that your target market?

Ok I am simplifying complex issues – which is exactly my point.

In much the same way as the positive point of view is often seen as unrealistic so doing and saying things as simply as possible is dismissed as being “too simplistic”.

Watch any other part of nature (yes we are a part of nature, not above it) and it will simply do what it does do well.  It just follows the law of nature and flourishes – unless of course we complicate things because we think we know better (have you checked lately what we are doing to nature??).

Television advertising promotes its products to the 8-year-old mentality. Those that don’t leave us wondering “what was that all about?”

Next time you need to make a decision, compare the simple “go with your gut feeling” (the male version of intuition?) option with your researched complex analysis option.  I suggest over time your gut decisions serve you better than the complex analysis decisions.  Would you agree?

A Breath of Fresh Air

I have just noticed the following review (the 3rd one) on amazon.com regarding my book "The Hunger to Grow":

"Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars This book was the first to point me in the right direction to find happiness in the second half of my life, January 9, 2017
By Amazon Customer
This review is from: The Hunger to Grow: How to Enjoy the Dessert Years of Your Life (Paperback)

A breath of fresh air. This book was the first to point me in the right direction to find happiness in the second half of my life. Thank you so much Peter for sharing your thoughts, knowledge and ideas. I'm now eager to read all your books."


Have you got your copy yet? It's available in hard copy, audio (my voice) and ebook at amazon.com (the US site)  And please put a review on the site after you have read it (I can show you how if you have trouble inserting your review). I am totally confident your review will be positive because every bit of feedback I have had so far from many readers has been totally positive.

Always enjoy allowing the real you to shine through.

An Expanding Life

Ageing, old, over the hill, or suggesting my life-glass is steadily emptying are all energy-draining words. I relate better to the big bang theory of the universe continuously expanding. Energy drives that process. Energy also drives the growth of nature and certainly energy drives my growth as a person.

It doesn't just happen of course. Personal energy is released each time I express my natural-born talents and follow my passions. The experience triggers an energising chain-reaction, linking with all of the other energising moments I have experienced over my lifetime to date.   Oddly perhaps, it builds a pattern, bringing together everything that will help me realize my unique life potential.

The bonus is that this process also gives me the inner strength and resilience to work through the tough times.

It's working for me. How about you? Your comments (below) are welcome.

May 2017 be a truly energising, life-expanding year for you and yours.

People of Integrity

The world is crying out for people of integrity. People you trust, whose word is their bond. People who enjoy the life they were born to live, developing their natural talents and following their passions in the cause of a better world.

Ever since I re-invented myself as a lifestyle mentor in 2003 my core theme has been to enjoy being your true self. It’s the cornerstone of everything I do, say and write. An unchangeable principle in an otherwise ever-changing world.

The fact that I have had so many subscribers to my newsletters throughout my 15 years inthis business says a great deal in these days of email information overload. A friend recently told me, “Peter you are a person of integrity who sells integrity in your messages”.   A compliment that I humbly accept, knowing enjoying being your true self is a rock on which all meaningful advances in life are founded.

Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy being your true self no matter what life throws at you. It’s your right to enjoy being true to your real self. It‘s what makes you a person of integrity. 

If you would like to join my list of subscribers, click on the subscription option to the right of this page.  Especially so if you are looking to take a new direction that will enable you to live your life on your terms.

Never Turn Back

Last night I was privileged to see the wonderful Australian documentary film When We Sing. The hauntingly beautiful song Never Turning Back (by Pat Humphries) behind the credits rounded off the film’s powerful message that music inspires us to enjoy the fullness of life in all its glory.


There have been times in my life (as I’m sure in yours) where I have thought about going back to a situation or a person that I left behind for whatever reasons. Sometimes it was a situation outside of my control, the passing of which left me sad and wishing it didn’t have to end.


The song reminded me that the past is past and cannot be changed. I only have now, from this moment on to value and use beneficially. The value of the past is in what it has taught me about how to deal with the now and the future. It’s a past that I gratefully acknowledge has presented me with unique rich knowledge, experience and wisdom.


The real positives lie in the magnificent uncertainty of what my future still holds, what teachers are still to appear when I, the student, am ready and what doors are waiting for me to open if only I will but knock. I to continue to enjoy playing out my unique role in life with this aim, quoting from my book, The Hunger to Grow:

“You will want to feel that at the end of “Your Life” the rest of the cast and your audience will give you a standing ovation, acknowledging you have given a performance they will never forget”.

Life's Energy Resources

To learn how to sustain your energy for living life to the full, look no further than a significant tree in your neighbourhood.


The strength and energy of that tree is founded in an elaborate root system that:

  • typically, spreads one and a half times the height and width of what you can see above the ground
  • provides the strength and stability that enables the tree to withstand the storms and rains over its life, much like those that we have experienced in Adelaide over recent weeks
  • constantly searches its surrounding ecosystem for nutrients that generate and sustain the energy the tree needs to grow, flourish and blossom.

Nor does the tree

  • divide its life into work and leisure, or
  • stop growing at some pre-determined age. It will continue to grow as long as it and its supporting community remains healthy.

Your strength and energy are sourced from within the real you – the person who looks out at the world through your eyes. Your unique talents and passions provide the conduit – the root system, if you will - through which you draw your energy to grow, flourish and blossom into the person you were born to be.


It doesn’t just happen though. It is through the use and development of your talents and passions that you draw your energy to grow, flourish and blossom into the magnificent being you were born to become. You will keep on growing for as long as your health continues, including the health of the community within which you choose to mix.


If your growth is stunted and in need of some pruning for stronger personal growth and development, I have the people gardening resources to help ensure your life flourishes and blossoms to its intended full glory.  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Maximising Your Talents Mix

There are 7 billion unique life stories in the world today and yours is one of them (sound familiar?). Your story is the product of your natural talents, passions and life experiences. The secret  to a purposeful life is less about what your talents and passions are and more about how you mix and use those talents/passions.


You've created a mix that enables you to achieve financial security, your enjoyment of family and your personal, social and recreational interests.


At any time in your life you can choose to adjust the mix to ensure you are constantly satisfying your lifestyle portfolio of interests. People over 50 have generally come to regard work as just one part of the portfolio. This opens up your mind to creating a 'dessert mix' of interests, talents and passions that satisfy your talent taste-buds and offer new freedom to enjoy being the real you, living life on your terms.


For example, using your work talents to help people in need, volunteering for a cause in need of your special abilities, or mentoring/coaching younger people. If offered the chance to try something slightly out of your comfort zone, give it a go. Whole new worlds are opened that way.


It’s so much more satisfying too when you add another powerful ingredient to the mix - mixing often with positive like-minded people.


This is just the tip of the iceberg. My latest book The Hunger to Grow is packed with real-life information to

  • re-explore the real you from a variety of perspectives, and
  • find new ways of enjoying creatively expressing your natural talents and passions.

A key principle of the book is that only you can decide what you enjoy.


Linking lifestyle and business affects all your people no matter what their workplace discipline may be. 

Ask to book me to speak at your next business event.


Lifestyle Issues Affecting Business

A busy time for me lately. Here’s a brief summary:

  • Invited to participate in a KPMG Adelaide Workshop on Ageing Well as a precursor to the State Government’s State Forum on Ageing Well.
  • My input to the workshop resulted in KPMG inviting me to lead one of the Chat Rooms at the State Forum – my topic was “Re-Inventing Self / Encore Careers”.
  • More to come as a result of the Forum. The intensity of discussions clarified the fact that age is irrelevant when it comes to contributing productively to the knowledge and wellbeing of society
  • Gave a keynote at the 2016 Disabilities and Ageing Expo in the Goyder Pavilion at the Adelaide Showgrounds over the loudspeaker system. Interesting experience talking to nobody in particular and everyone in general. Was delighted to get enthusiastic applause from a wide area of the Expo including one stand holder coming up to congratulate me on a wonderful presentation.
  • Held an “Enjoyment Experience” at The Nest Bistro in suburban Walkerville, with the key event being a Conversation between Nicola Lipscombe of “Powerful Listening” and me. It was a highly successful event in collaboration with The Nest, the Walkerville News Shop and Powerful Listening. While my book “The Hunger to Grow”was the central theme, the event was of benefit in many ways to all the businesses involved. A feature was the production by the Nest of a dessert which was an excellent representation of the book’s cover.
    The Hunger to Grow
  • Now in discussion with the Catalyst Foundation, Adelaide to conduct a series of 2-hour workshops on a variety of topics linking Lifestyle and Business.

Lifestyle issues are increasingly affecting business engagement, productivity and mental wellbeing (to mention just a few issues). My approaches are simple, realistic, purposeful and cost effective. Of special value to SME’s. Give me a call on 0417 817 027.

The Healing Potential of Words

My barber died last Saturday – sudden, unexpected. I had been going to him for some 25 years. The shock and disbelief cut through me. Visiting your regular barber is one of those odd friendships. You see each other only occasionally, your time together often silent, punctuated only with the occasional conversation. The sense of mutual respect peculiar to the relationship between a man and his barber.


My sadness was of course nothing compared to the wave of grief that flooded over his extended Italian family and friends. I turned to what I do best - write. Like a lone wolf baying to the moon, I unloaded my feelings on Facebook. ("More than my Barber").


What happened then was beyond my wildest belief. My post was shared and shared and shared…over 50 times. It reached over 500 people – Paul’s immediate family and their vast enfolding Italian community. “I don’t know you Peter but thank you for your healing words”… “had to share this touching status, thank you Peter”… and the ultimate compliment: “suggested the family print, laminate and display your amazingly appropriate verse…your words are heartfelt and healing”.


Healing. Words that did more than express my feelings. They offered healing to a family and community in their darkest hours of grief and loss … at a time when healing would seem distant.


There are times for each of us when we know why we are on this earth. For me this has been one of the most powerful of them.


Never ever underestimate the healing potential of heartfelt words.

The World Needs Your Unique Talents

You are the only person in human history with your particular mix of talents and passions. So you have the potential to achieve outcomes that no other person – past, present, or future – can replicate.


An awesome thought. Makes you pretty special - at least in theory. First though…what natural talents do you know you have and use? What passions do you enjoy pursuing? What turns you on in terms of what you do in your life (not just in your work), for what purpose, for whose benefit?


Return on investment (ROI) normally relates to financial investments with the aim of increasing the value and benefits of the investment.  What if you applied the term ROI to the use of your natural-born talents and passions?


The 1930 Australian penny is worth a fortune because there are so few.  Since your talents and passions are unique in human history, imagine the potential of their value to you and to the world – but only if developed and used wisely.


You will finally be valued not for your money or financial success but for the extent to which you have developed, maximized and contributed to others your unique talents, passions and potential. 


It’s never too late to start making a difference. Is the world getting full value from your unique talents and passions? If not, the world is losing something very special that only you could provide.


Enjoy being you 

(NB my email address is now This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


My book The Hunger to Grow will help you make a difference. 

Go to amazon.com to download the audio or ebook version or to order the printed book. Details on my website.