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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I have just seen a video in which Professor Michelle Simmons (Australian of the Year 2018) is encouraging people to make the most of their lives. She concluded by saying: "Learn about yourself, what you are good at, what you enjoy and then push the boundaries of that to find out where you can excel".  Here's the link: https://twitter.com/i/status/1080665975769333760

It expresses - much more simply than I - exactly what I do. So, naturally, I am promoting it as much as possible. 

But my interest goes much deeper. Professor Simmons doesn't distinguish between work or leisure to pursue your goals.  She simply talks about learning who you are, what you enjoy, what you are good and how you might excel in life.

The work ethic is the product of 19th Century thinking (even earlier!) and totally out of date with 21st Century progress. The distinction between work and leisure is rapidly blurring and disappearing. With the future of work undergoing massive changes and uncertainty, I foresee the distinction disappearing totally.

The emphasis I believe will be, exactly as Professor Simmons says, on who you are, what you enjoy, what you are good at and what you can do to excel in life. 

I will go further and suggest that in future, the concept of a work ethic will evolve into a development ethic, in which we all use and develop our natural abilities through our own chosen connections with like-minded people, to be part of something bigger than self in advancing human progress.

I welcome your comments (below).

And I hope 2019 will be your best year yet - at work, home and play.

The Weekend Australian on October 27/28 published a laudable article in its Magazine concerning the depression experienced by Australian cricketer Moises Henrique.  I lit on to his reported comment about how much he enjoyed swimming, walking the dog and playing golf as his way of escaping from his dark place.  My  reaction is summed up in the following response letter which the paper published (unedited) last weekend. 

"Forty years as a Recreation Planner have taught me the power of the Enjoyment Factor in managing stress – enjoying creatively expressing any interest that switches your mind off your problems and switches it on to energizing experiences. In Moises Henrique’s case it’s swimming, walking the dog and playing golf. For me it’s choir singing.

The power of the enjoyment factor is the tugboat that gradually turns excessive stress around. Yet few psychologists give enjoyment it’s due credence to energising the mind to better cope with depression."

I fully endorse health professionals' normal suggestion of "exercise".  It's just that I see the enjoyment factor as being crucial - be it a physical or mental activity.  Without enjoyment, the essential "switch off from your problems" experience is greatly diminished and interest in the activity soon fades.

Exercising the body keeps you physically fit (and helps the mind). Exercising the mind keeps you mentally fit (and helps the body).

I like the saying. “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. It’s a guard against the frustrations that come from trying to be someone you are not. However I think it can be said more positively, “No-one else can be you”.

There is something in you that sets you apart. You were born with a unique mix of talents/gifts the potential of which is best maximized by following your passions. Even others who share your passion do so from perspectives different to yours.

When you reach your 60's you enter an exciting era, a new freedom to open up the potential for you to ‘live younger longer’.  Work or not, it's time to back your true self, to focus on doing what you're good at and how that can enrich your life and that of other people who value your abilities.  Your difference becomes your strength.

While I enjoyed my structured career as a Recreation Planner, I now love the freedom of lifestyle mentoring, to do things my way on my terms and enabling me to realize my personal goals.

For a deeper understanding of your unique potential, my book "The Hunger to Grow" is your essential first step.  Click here to get your copy.

Time is a concoction of human beings. We like to  time measure everything, be it in seconds (if you are an Olympic athlete), minutes, hours, years, lifetimes. Your mind has trouble understanding let alone answering the question “how old do you think you would be now if you didn’t know when you were born?”.

The concept of time began to annoy me years ago when I became a Leisure and Recreation Planner. People could only think of leisure as free time, even a waste of time…and who has free time when you need to work for success, money and the mortgage?

So I decided it’s time to do something about people’s obsession with time.

Nature doesn’t work to a clock. In fact it doesn’t ‘work’ …it just naturally grows, flourishes, matures and (flora) blossoms. Trees, plants or animals don’t retire and stop growing at some predetermined time.  Yet nature is busy – reeeally busy (even though you won’t see much movement unless you have a time lapse camera (damn I said time again). There is untold and unseen co-operation and collaboration going on (it’s called ecology) plus rain and all that activity that goes on below the ground.    

And when you realize we are in fact part of nature (not something above or in charge of it) you get a different perspective on human existence…we be (which is why we call ourselves human beings…funny that). For humans to grow and mature we have to be seen to be actively doing things. If we just stood there like a tree we would keel over and die (if we haven’t been hit by a car).

I prefer the word experience. We experience living so long as we keep at it and our health lets us keep at it. The ingredients contained within your seed are different to those of any other person, in the form of unique gifts/talents, passionate interests and potential achievements/contributions to others. Your seed naturally grows into the person you are today,  through the active development of your talents and passionate interests.

You are identified not by the work you do but by what others value in you and make you different. Your growth is based not on how long you have lived to date but by the depth of your knowledge, experience, insight and wisdom. These in turn are the product of your expressed and developed natural-born talents and passionate interests.

Leisure becomes the creative expression of your natural abilities for the sheer joy of the experiences you create. It becomes an integral part of a productive, meaningful and therefore successful life. Leisure differs from work only in that the product is totally yours while the product of work is subject to the expectation of others who cannot know the real you – the person only you know , the natural abilities unique to you and the potential only you can realize. Would that the world could be the product of such freedom of creative expression. How much better would be your mental health, how much better you would age and enjoy life, how much saner you would become and collectively how much real progress would society achieve.  

And when you are totally absorbed in an enjoyable experience, you forget all sense of time. My case rests.

Got time to make a comment below?

I am excited to be presenting at the World Urban Parks and Leisure Congress in Melbourne on 15th October 2018 at the MCG. My presentation “Backing Leisure to Win” will outline a strategy for changing the way we plan for parks and leisure development in a highly uncertain future world, especially with the future of work being under threat.

It will be a return to my professional association Parks and Leisure Australia, of which I am a Life Member and a past National President. I retired in 2002 after 30 years of service to that profession.

The strategy I present will reflect what I have learned over the past 15 years as a lifestyle mentor working with people in the corporate sector. Registrations to date exceed 600 parks and leisure professionals from around the world.  I will upload the video of  my presentation after the Congress.
https://www.iplc2018.com/

My business can be described in one word : 'ease'. (Not 'easy'.)

When you lose yourself in an interest that you love, you are at ease. My clients say I put them very much at ease and that my messages exude a sense of ease.  We can't feel at ease all the time, but it is essential to be mentally at ease often.

Literally, the opposite to living with ease is one of feeling un-easy,...

ill-at-ease, or experiencing dis-ease... words that are very definitely recognized as being unhealthy states. It can be a silent, subtle feeling, perhaps one of just going through the motions, itching to find a new spark in your life's journey.  A prolonged state of unease can lead to depression, burnout, chronic illness, even suicide.

Thesaurus synonyms of 'ease'...

include words like calmness, composure, contentment, enjoyment, free, liberty, naturalness, peace of mind, readiness, satisfaction, tranquillity, simplicity. The list goes on to put 'ease' in a slightly more expressive perspective; skilfulness, improve, expertise, efficiency, dexterity, make easier.

When you look at these synonyms ease becomes a more realistic goal to achieve when reviewing what sort of lifestyle you want in terms of achieving true self-actualization (Maslow's term for the ultimate in self-development).

I see living with ease as...

a life in which the authentic you is alive and flourishing in your personal life and your working life.  If not, I suggest something is out of kilter about linking who you are, the life you lead and/or the work you do. 

If you are feeling uneasy about quitting full-time work,...

it's likely your fears are less about the money and more about what is going to get you out of bed each day with a sense of valued long-term purpose.  This is the time for you to clarify who is the real you, what other people value in you and what makes you different to other people.  And then back yourself!

I've been through it and loving the freedom of now living my life my way. It's not always easy but I enjoy feeling at ease with who I am, what I do for others and for my own sense of life satisfaction.

I can help you work through all of the talents, gifts, passionate interests and abilities you have enjoyed using throughout your life. These form a realistic, practical and positive basis on which to re-create your life, one centred around expressing your authentic self.

Easy! :)

She was sitting quietly by herself, facing the window looking out, it seemed, at nothing in particular. A glass of wine cupped in her hands. Nothing obviously out of the ordinary. It was in a bistro where I often write. I became alert to her not by the length of time she sat there but by her clearly sombre mood. So it caught my eye when she went to the counter and returned with a second glass of wine.

“Are you ok?” I quietly asked. A nod of the head was her response. Minutes later tears began to roll down her face. “You’re not ok are you” was my statement more than a question. “No” was her quiet response. She talked…I listened…who knows for how long….her tragic problems pouring forth, releasing pent-up pressures in her mind, heart and soul. She eventually started to relax, even smile a little. I took the chance to lighten the discussion . Her face softened, her eyes shone a tad more brightly and her body eased. Soon a laugh emerged…nothing hearty but genuine and warm.

A friend of hers arrived and they prepared to leave together. She turned to me. It wasn’t her words that made my heart leap…it was her look of soft thankfulness , her head a little higher, her shoulders a little easier, a warmth flowing in my direction. I had not solved her problems one iota - nor, importantly, did I try to do so - but I had eased her pain, even if only temporarily. My contribution was caring, empathizing and non-judgemental. The change in her was of her doing…a new perspective, perhaps a little hope, certainly a new belief in herself that she is indeed a woman of dignity and respect, a person of worth.

I never saw her again. All I know is how powerful , valuable and uplifting that simple, non-invasive question, ”Are you ok?”, can be - as much to the asker of the question as to the person being asked.

I have always wanted to be accepted by people, to be the nice guy that everybody likes and respects. I’ve had lots of professional recognition, been president of more organisations than I care to remember, captained sporting teams and generally hold the respect of my peers. All good pointers towards success in life.

As we all know though, life has much more depth and meaning than being liked or seeking popularity. So much of our wisdom, depth, insight and understanding of life becomes progressively embedded in us through the teachings of those two disrespectful disrupters: rejection and failure. They have indeed taught me well, especially in the years since I made the quantum leap from secure public servant to self-employed lifestyle mentor.

Yet it had not resolved an ongoing battle between the mature me as a lifestyle mentor and the passionate little boy in me who still craved acceptance of who he is and what he’s good at. That this battle was largely resolved by events in recent weeks has, as you can imagine, had a deep and profound impact on my whole psyche.  

I refer to a number of recent very public situations where the little boy had self-doubts about me saying what I genuinely felt. The mature me decided to ignore the little boy and "just do it". 

The outcomes have gone way beyond the emphatic positive success on each occasion of me doing so. I had in effect taken a series of small steps which, combined, form a great leap in uniting the passionate boy and the mature man as one authentic self.

While this message still hasn't been easy to write, it's been a cathartic experience. :)

'In a world that wants to control your every move, steal your ideas, squash your initiative, crush your hopes and stifle your passion . . . In you there will always be a flame burning, a dream that dares not to die, a love refusing to be diminished, a hope that will never be denied  . . . You know you were born with wings to fly, a sky that begs you to soar, a horizon that knows no limits . . . All you need is the courage to back yourself, lift your sights, spread your wings and fly'.

I had written these words earlier this year as part of my efforts to help others see their lives anew. Sometimes I wonder which comes first – the growth, or the experience/event that causes you to see life differently. That question was to be answered in a small but life-changing way - the removal of cataracts from both of my eyes.

Only if you have had the same thing done for your eyes can you understand the seeming miracle of my vision being dramatically cleared after decades of wearing glasses and experiencing the increasing issues of ageing. Glasses discarded, colours brightened, contrasts sharpened and detail more precise.

What I didn't expect was for my new vision to be extended far beyond what my eyes could see and encompass what my mind could envisage . . . 'You know you were born with wings to fly, a horizon that knows no limits - lift your sights, spread your wings and fly'.

I felt younger, in awe of the fact that removal of cataracts could trigger a fresh chance at life, a renewed desire to spread my wings and fly.

Yet not even there did the magic end. I had endured six months of leg problems culminating in a total hip replacement and in need of new fitness and mental energy. 'In you there will always be a flame burning, a dream that dares not to die'. A clear vision is vital but it's the call to action that spurs the dream.

Is life like that? Do we see clearly in our youth, only to have the demands of daily life cloud our vision, like clouds dulling a clear horizon? The wonders of modern medicine are doing more than giving us the ability to live longer. 'In a world that wants to control your every move' I feel a sense of rejuvenation, a lifting of the pressures of others' expectations. A fresh perspective through which I can filter my years of experience and my continuing dreams.

New eyes through which to see more clearly not just my 'who' and my 'what?' but also my 'why?'.

Featured in the July 2018 issue of Gifts of Inspiration  as the Featured Positive Inspirational Story of the month

I hope you gain value from at least one of the following points I gleaned from an excellent range of speakers at the “Ambitious Leaders, Radical Change” Newday Summit at the Adelaide Oval, July 4.

  • What makes us great? 1) A reason to act; 2) a growth mindset; 3) Grit and resilience; 4) The courage to act. (Phil Nosworthy).
  • Go forward 5 years: What are you seeing yourself doing? What are people saying about that? How do you feel? (Phil Nosworthy).
  • When asked to define “who am I?” (not what I do), my personal response was “I am what makes me valued by others and makes me different to anyone else”. Works for me.
  • The brain is a work in progress. Interactions affect the brain of both persons, positively or negatively. Meaningful interactions don’t just grow our own brain, they grow the brain of the people we affect. Trust is a big factor in the effectiveness of these interactions. (Fiona Kerr)
  • Beyond the verve ignited by your passions comes a ‘stillness energy’, a sense of ‘sway’ or ‘heart energy’, the state in which the outputs of your passions start to flow meaningfully to others. (Sally Rundle)
  • List in order your three top passions in life. Extend the list as far as seven (still in order). Now consider the potential of re-arranging their order. Say ‘no’ more often to low priorities and those negatively impacting on your health and mental fitness. (Shivani Gupta)

Lastly some philosophical pondering. Phil Nosworthy asks “Is there something really important about ‘learning’ to being human (is learning woven into the human fabric)? Today is all we have, tomorrow isn’t promised”. What came out of that for me is whatever we have achieved through our learning to date could well become the legacy we leave behind. Hopefully we still have time to hone the quality of that legacy.

I have been invited to speak at the World Urban Parks/Parks and Leisure Australia International Congress (iplc2018) in October in Melbourne.  My topic will be “Backing Leisure to Win”. The presentation will realize a key dream in my passionate journey that began with a one day seminar in 1974 on the potential of leisure to resolve major emerging social issues.

Leisure has long struggled in a work ethic dominated society. It was ok in my career life dealing with leisure-conscious people who wanted better quality recreation facilities and opportunities. However when I reinvented myself as a Lifestyle Mentor in 2003 I quickly learned that to sell the benefits of leisure to business I had to couch them in terms of personal development, stress management, mental fitness and ageing well.

It’s a tough battle because leisure still wears a stigma of being frivolous and even a competitor to work productivity. Supportive people suggest I may be ahead of my time as society moves toward an uncertain future for the nature of work. (There is a whole presentation in that topic alone.)

What can I hope to achieve by speaking to the converted at a Congress of leisure professionals? Simply, it’s a great chance to sow the seed of what I have learned and experienced over many years so that it might progressively grow and flourish in communities around the world.

If you would like me to speak to your people – before or after the Congress – about the benefits of creative leisure interests for improved personal development, mental fitness and stress management I would be delighted to do so. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0417 817 027.

I have recently finished reading Evan Carmichael's "Your One Word" in which he suggests that, for each of us who have a passion for what we do, there is one word at the core of it all. I used his process to probe the passion around which my business revolves. One word kept repeating itself. The further I probed, the more it popped up.  The word? "Valued".

Valued as in relation to:

  • Your unique natural-born gifts/talents and passions that make up the authentic you
  • Your value of the people who love the authentic you and other like-minded people who energize your day and your life
  • My unique gifts, abilities and passion to do all I can to help ensure you invest your life in the most valuable resource you have - your uniqueness, your difference, your strengths and your passions
  • the sheer enjoyment you get out of expressing your authentic self in your own way - at work and in your personal life.

For further examples, simply read "valued" into anything on my website

The beauty is that, far from changing anything, it strengthens it, enhancing and connecting every aspect of my mentoring services.

So when next you want to, or have to, make adjustments to the direction of your life I urge you to back your most valuable assets - who you are, the talents you have and the difference you can make.

If you want further convincing of the importance of valuing yourself, think about the word "de-valued" and what that can mean to your self-esteem, sense of worth and true enjoyment of life.  Devalued is a product of what you think others expect of you.  Valued is totally within your power to build within yourself and in the life of others.

I am all for happiness! We need lots more of it.  Yet I don't see it as the right word for the feeling that comes into my mind when people talk about happiness - especially as we come to the International Day of Happiness.

To me the better word is contentment.  Not the sort of contentment that says I have had a good meal and a glass of wine and ready for a nap.  I mean contentment with where I am at in my life, who I am and with adequate chances to express the real me in my way, at my pace and with/to like-minded people.

Contentment describes the journey I am on, not some goal ("I will be happy when...") I am hoping to achieve at some time in the future. The circumstances of my contentment can - and do - constantly change but the feeling it brings is something I can constantly adjust according to the changed circumstances.   Even in unhappy circumstances that require me to adjust my thinking. ("They can control what they are doing to me but they cannot control how I respond"- Victor Frankl).

Contented workers are content with where they work, what they do and the recognition they gain from all around them, clients, bosses and colleagues.  It's the sort of place where we would all like to be employed.  We feel all those good feelings like acceptance, commitment, productive and stable.

When the peoples of the world are content with who they are, where they are at in life and the way society is progressing, that is when, I suggest, The International Day of Happiness shall have achieved its aim.

What do you think? (there's plenty of comment space below)

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.

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. 

Previously:

  • 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.    

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.

 

 

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.

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 :)

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.

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.

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.

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..

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.

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?

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."

Yeahhhh!! 

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.

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.

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