Tag Archives: sport

The things successful people do…..

“I exercise in the morning like nearly all the articles and blog posts I read……and I’m not getting more successful!”

First thing in the morning, is really the only part of the day that I fully control and own.

And what do I choose to do? Exercise. I love exercising in the morning, particularly before work.

Things come up during the day – meetings, calls, the unexpected but you control the start of the day and I find it a great way to start each day.

I can’t work it out though; I exercise in the morning like nearly all the articles and blog posts I read about “the things successful people do” and I’m not getting more successful!

I have my tongue firmly planted in my cheek here; yes I do exercise in the morning but no, I don’t do it because I think it will make me more successful.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson talks passionately through his social posts about getting up at 4am every day to hit the gym as his “anchor” and this is his edge over his competition. He urges everyone to find their “anchor” that works for them.

I love this quote from him – “We’re all busy, we’re all tired, we all got families to feed and work to get done. Whatever it is, find your anchor. Use it and and project it. It’ll help bring your balance in this crazy thing we call life. For the records, your anchor does NOT have to be weird shit like big heavy chains that look like they belong in the next SAW movie.”

I love the feeling of starting work having exercised, it is empowering – for me. I feel like I have something over my peers and people I’m dealing with because I’ve already worked hard before getting to the office.

It’s funny how people who like to sleep in or stay up late (is it the same thing?) are absolute in their belief that you accomplish more late at night. Then again I’m just as absolute that you get more done first thing in the morning because I control that time.

Two men said they’re Jesus, one of them must be right……..

Ironically enough, the most successful (from a status/financial perspective) people in business I have worked with closely have been night people and the opposite to me – up late with office hours of 9:05am to 7-8pm (and no morning workouts!).

But then again, what is successful? It is different for everyone as we all have different goals. For some it is status or money. For some it is just being happy and healthy. I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing and where I’m at so I think I’m successful. Some may disagree and that’s ok, we’re all different.

The main point here is not about exercising and it’s not about whether you get up early or stay up late, it’s about finding something that makes you feel good on a regular basis that can enhance you.

I’m getting better at finding, recognising and acknowledging what is important to me and ensuring that these things are given priority.

Maybe it’s because I exercise in the morning.

Maybe I need to exercise for longer.

2 “same same but different” philosophies I use in business & sport

Employing people means you must treat everyone the same but everyone differently.

Ask anyone in business and they’ll tell you employing people is great if you didn’t have to deal with people.

It can be hard work because we are all different with different views, wants, needs and goals.

Ask anyone who has coached junior sport a similar question and you’d get a similar response except that the “different” can be two or three (or more) fold (I’m talking parents, divorcees, grand parents, etc).

Both can be rewarding though and one of the great joys I have is watching the growth in people you coach or employee (yes employing people can be like coaching) over the long term.

In the case of business I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a few companies where I/we have employed people at their start of their career or ready for their next professional challenge.

I’ve always had the philosophy of employing people being a win-win-win (link to post) for the employee-manager-employer where one of the techniques I like is helping to build their resume (link to post) as a way of growing them professionally by seeing it visually.

At DMi we employed quite a few young people who didn’t have much experience but certainly had good attitudes to want to have a go and learn.

I loved coaching them in a way of bring them along the journey and giving them the opportunity to swing high or hang themselves. I challenged them to always improve their resume; that is, improve their value and their resume was a tangible way they could see it.

I love even more to see, over 10 years on, where they are now and it gives me satisfaction knowing that I may have played a part in the base skillset they are using that makes them a valuable commodity to the current business they are working for.

Same deal since I’ve been at carsales; I love seeing those who I have worked with or mentored kicking some goals years after coming into the business.

My philosophy for coaching junior football over many years was to give kids the skills and passion for the game to keep involved over the long term (senior football) as opposed to teaching them skills that a kid can/should practice on their own if they have the desire – this is not too dissimilar to business.

For instance, in my opinion, a more important skill to teach to juniors is not to fall over in a competitive situation rather than kicking on their opposite foot (which they can practice themselves).

Seems pretty simple but go to a junior game of football and hear the parents clap the kids who make an unrealistic attempt to get the ball falling over in the process – “Good effort Johnny” and then “C’mon boys, all try harder like Johnny” – when in fact once they fall over they are out of the contest and can’t win the ball.

These efforts are not good enough as they get older and play higher level football or just senior football no matter what level.

If junior players can grasp this concept early they are not only ahead of the curve they have developed a skill that a) they can’t learn/practice on their own and b) will take them through as senior players, my ultimate goal.

The goal is necessarily not to produce players that will be AFL stars as that is a possible by-product but rather the skills and understanding of the game that will stand up as the competition gets bigger, quicker and better.

So my measure of success and satisfaction out of my junior coaching is to see how many are still playing football beyond the junior years as this is usually a drop off point.

This is a similar measure of success for business.

Yes employing people or coaching kids can be tough but it is the rewarding parts that keeps us doing it.

Football v Career – Actions Defined by Subconscious Thinking

Have you ever thought about your subconscious actions and how they affect the course of your life?

I am amazed at how our subconscious thinking defines our actions; when I think back now to the late 80’s, early 90’s it was my subconscious thinking that drove actions that set the shape of my professional life.
This was when I commenced my employment with Reynolds & Reynolds in the automotive technology space (the space I am still around today) and played my first AFL Senior season in that same year (VFL back then).

Now looking back, the path that both of those took is a lesson in itself. This is not about me looking back thinking “what if” (maybe a little, sometimes) but more a real lesson in what shapes our beliefs and ultimate actions.

I loved football and still do but it has never been my life nor did I ever set out for it to be my life. I didn’t work hard to play AFL, it just “happened”. One week I was playing local U18 football (no training, out on Friday nights before a game) and the next week I was playing with Richmond U19s, appointed Captain the following season and played my first senior AFL game the year. Yes I did all the hard training including the long pre-season but nothing extra or out of the ordinary (unfortunately). Football was just meant to be fun.
Now I compare that with my software development career which kicked off in the same year. Almost from the start I was driven to do more and be better than the other programmers. I quickly got a reputation for not letting something go before it was done. That meant late nights, weekends, etc, going above and beyond, doing the extra work.

Dad always said to me about working to “work hard, be loyal and you’ll get looked after”. Football to me was always short term thinking. Work, my profession, has always been thinking about the long term.

What if I worked my butt off in football to get every bit I could out of myself? What would I be doing now? It might be exactly the same. It might be different. I don’t really care and don’t dwell on it because I made that choice many years ago subconsciously and divided by effort/time accordingly (or maybe I subconsciously knew where my talents really were….).

I still love football and I am still involved today as a Board member of the EFL and through my kids playing. It is and always has been an outlet for me. Would I have loved to have played more senior AFL football? Definitely but not necessarily at the cost of what I’m doing today. Remember too, it wasn’t fully professional back then either and let’s face it, I was never going to be in the elite bracket!

I like to think I’ve “worked hard, been loyal and been looked after” to get to where I am today so I’m pretty happy with my lot and it was my subconscious thinking that defined it for me.

Have you thought about your journey and how you made it to where you are today?

What If Your Business Meeting Was Televised?

AFL (Australian Football Lague for my international friends) is now a fully professional sport with clubs turning over in excess of $70m per year and the players average salary getting up to ~$300,000 per year with some over the $1m mark.

You read it all the time that it is a business and for the players it is a full time job.

The AFLPA (Players Association) is always pushing the case for the players to be treated like other industries. The fact is that it is not like any other industry.

The lifespan of the average AFL player is 4 years and the good ones might get past 10. In the whole scheme of a working life it isn’t a big percentage so they should be compensated in line with what the industry is generating, especially since they are the star attraction.
One argument I don’t get though is the “24/7” argument, that football is with them everywhere they go – they have to look after their bodies, they can’t go out without getting recognised, etc.

Do they not think that other industries are 24/7 as well? Most people I work with are available day and night with my smartphone; something is always happening and in today’s connected world work is hard to get away from. Wouldn’t it be great to sit at home all day resting your body and not getting hassled by email or messenger for work matters?

The scrutiny in the public eye that they come under when on the field is something that (thankfully) the majority of us don’t encounter. Take the example earlier this year when Richmond lost to Collingwood by 1 point with a goal kicked with 4 seconds remaining.
Richmond were 17 points up with around 4 minutes remaining. Through a combination of undisciplined errors they allowed Collingwood to kick 3 goals and literally steal the game. These players get paid to play and win. The expectation is that they train all year around to execute their skills under pressure, especially when it counts. The Richmond players failed to do this and the media hammered them.

I just happened to sit next to three Richmond players at a cafe in the days after the game I am referring to. I was to into my muesli and the daily paper to overhear anything until I was getting up to pay my bill. “A game goes for 2 hours; we are going to f**k up at some point”, one of them said with the other two nodding their heads in acknowledgement.

I wonder how’d we’d go in business getting a business presentation to a huge prospective client screened live with commentary? Then have it all dissected by the media in the days following.
You perform well right the way through your negotiations, good body language, assertive, confident and answering all questions with authority. It gets towards the end of the meeting, time to try and close the deal. The client throws in a curve ball that you weren’t expecting. You stutter, not sure where to look. They throw the ball in your court to accept their terms there and then (wasn’t it meant to be the other way around, you are thinking).

You lose the deal. What would be the feedback your boss would give you in the video review? What about the media reporting on it?

Would make the performance review far more interesting.

Balancing Work and YOU


I read a good post recently from Jason Wyatt, Managing Director at Marketplacer, titled “Being an entrepreneur is tough work, so look after yourself“.

His first paragraph reads: “There’s no way around it: as an entrepreneur, you need to put in the hard yards to make your business a success. Getting a venture off the ground takes enormous effort and focus.

He is right and guess what, it’s not only entrepreneurs who this applies to, it is everyone. The majority of people I know and associate with are multi-faceted in that they work (paid or unpaid, ie housework), are husbands/wives, fathers/mothers, involved in school stuff, junior club stuff, etc. Combining all of this “takes enormous effort and focus”.

Make no mistake, generally speaking to make everything work is “tough work”.

The work part of it is almost the easy bit be it running a business, housework, working in a large corporate, a small business, tradie, white-collar worker, anything. It is juggling the next 4-5 things on your to-dos that can leave you gasping for air let alone making the time to keep active.

This is why you need to look after yourself, mentally and physically. Looking after yourself can and does mean different things to different people but at the core you need to ensure you are happy and healthy.
I am one that likes to exercise. It is important to my state of mind and body so I do prioritise it which means the very first part of my week-day before work is exercise time. Sometimes I get a good long session in, sometimes a short quick session and sometimes I just can’t make it work. When I travel I make sure I stay in a hotel with a gym so that I can keep moving. For me it is as much about my mental state as my physical state.

Not everyone likes to exercise, granted. Looking after yourself doesn’t have to be about exercise; just look after yourself in all aspects to be your best at all facets in your life.

Remember, YOU are at the top of the triangle (3 Points to Win).

Building For The Future


Anyone who knows me knows that I love to draw parallels between business and sport. Here’s one of those.

Our carsales‘ CEO regularly says to us that we should be aiming to build a business where our kids will work.

I love this as an aim as it promotes a long term sustainable view on building the business. This is an important balance for our company as we look to build shareholder value.

I also love the thought of my kids working at carsales. I’ve spent the past 20 years doing all I can to help them grow and this would put icing on the cake for me.

In late 2002 one of my best mates told me he was thinking of coaching our then local football club, Rowville. This was a big move. Rowville had finished 8th of 9 teams in 4th Division meaning it was effectively ranked 38 of 39 teams in the Eastern Football League (EFL). It was rabble (in their words)and not just in performance on the field, the culture was shot.
Not only this but he had spent the previous 18 years at VFA and 1st Division level. This was a big drop so the question was why? “Our kids are going to play at Rowville and I don’t want them playing 4th Division so let’s get the club up to 1st Division by the time they are playing senior footy”, he said.

Fair call, I was in. I came in as assistant coach/chairman of selectors and dusted off the boots after two years retirement to play as well. We pulled together around a dozen mates and mates of mates most of which were 30 plus but had played higher levels of football. The club was nervous of putting “dad’s army” (their words) out on the park but we assured them that we’ll go ok and start the rebuild of the club to move up Divisions.

In 2003 Rowville did not lose a game to be Premiers and Champions with an average winning margin of 85 points. We moved up to 3rd Division in 2004 again winning the Premiership and losing just the 1 game through the season.
It was time to execute the next stage of the plan. Most of the old guys like myself, finally retired after the 2004 win to bring through more ex-juniors who we were blooded over the previous 2 years. In 2005 in 2nd Division with a different looking side, Rowville made its 3rd Grand Final in a row, this one a little unexpectedly. It was a blessing they lost that one as they weren’t ready for the premier division just yet.

Fast forward to 2012 with my mate back at the helm as coach after a few years off and I was back as assistant coach. With a side containing 19 (out of 22) ex-juniors, Rowville wins the 2nd Division premiership to win promotion to 1st Division. The plan was complete, nearly.

Our kids weren’t playing senior footy quite yet so the club needed to consolidate in 1st Division. Well in 2016 my mate is now President of the club and they are well and truly in the top half of 1st Division with great kids coming through; kids that we have both coached through the juniors as well. The future was built. Sustained performance had improved through a complete change in culture.
As with our long term strategic direction at carsales, Rowville had a plan that they executed and now can provide a great environment for our kids to enjoy at a professional, high level. I take my hat off to my good mate for following through to a great achievement.

Plan, execute and enjoy the fruits – build for the future. This is the mission at carsales too.