The Genuine Article

We are all responsible for every word that comes out of our mouth. I’ve been learning this hard truth since becoming a dad as my kids are quick to remind me what I said and when I said it, especially when it comes to buying toys or chocolate for them.

They are sharp, smart and quick to repeat back what I promised or said to them at one point or another. Because of this I am reminded that I need to hold up my end of the bargain. I need to be dad, the example of what it is to be genuine, kind, caring, and fair. Even when I may not feel like it. Especially when I don’t feel like it.

Don’t use compromise as your first response.

Why is this important? I want my kids to grow up to be better than me. I want them to grow up into responsible adults who don’t use compromise as their first response, but their last resort. I want them to be much different than most people I’ve met and dealt with. When my kids walk into any room as adults I want others to know that my kids are the real deal. Decisive and well thought out. People of their word.

This character trait isn’t something that my generation appears to place much value on. When presented with an opportunity to hold their word, the vast majority will simply back pedal because it’s easier. Character is pushed aside and with it the individual’s integrity.

If left unchecked, anyone will soon be seen as untrustworthy and will have a difficult time making and keeping friends. They will also find their work environment to be difficult to navigate, as soon no one will hold any trust in them as people or faith in their ability to perform tasks. They always live under a cloud of judgement.

The agony of choice.

It is avoidable, but not always easy. It is a choice that has to be made every day. So how can anyone reach this point?

Our kids copy us as parents, so it stands to reason that if we display this characteristic to them, they will hopefully pick it up. The catch is that we will heed to display this trait to our kids over and over, at every opportunity.

It’s as much up to us to show our kids what integrity is, as it is up to our kids to pick up on the lessons we leave for them.

As parents, we need to do all we can to equip our kids with all the necessary tools they’ll need in life. Their foundation is what we can give them so that they will always know who they are no matter what life throws at them.

Are we always going to get it right? Definitely not, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing everything we can to get it right as much if the time as possible.

Your patience will be stretched to it’s limits at times. Kids will be kids.

 In all of this, it’s very important to remember to let your kids be kids and give them some space. Let them have fun and don’t expect them to understand things as an adult would.

All we can ever do is our best, and in doing so, we will give our kids the best example they can have of How To handle themselves in life. The rest is up to them.

 

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Fear Profits Man Nothing

Fear will hold you back from success if you let it. Stand fast, and learn to overcome your fears so you can have success in life.

Do you believe that fear is holding you back? How do you react to something that you can’t see but that somehow has a hold of your mind? It could be as simple as worrying about how you’ll cope at work with a boss that is just two fries short of a happy meal, or whether you’ll have enough money to survive for the next week or month etc.

Fear can take many forms and affect us all differently, but it only has the reach and hold on us that we allow it to have. Remember this and apply it as you see fit. Personally, I believe that every circumstance comes and goes and that experiences, whether good or bad, only last for a time and a season.

All too often I have seen  smart people afraid of making decisions that would see them reach that next level in life because of fear. The only reason fear is successful is because we let it creep in and take over. We leave it unchecked and often feel powerless against it, we make excuses to justify to ourselves, why we just can’t overcome.

 What if you broke that chain?

In an internal job interview I once had with a department head, I was given a valuable piece of advice that I would like to share with you. Don’t he a victim. It’s a simple and complex piece of advice. He implied that it was my choice and that what happened in my life depended solely on me. One of the complexities of this advice is that we sometimes feel that our circumstances dictate our choices and therefore path.

I’ve come to believe that this too is an illusion of victimhood, a resignation to the feeling of helplessness we feel when we give in to what we believe to be either too much effort or insurmountable odds. Generally it’s the latter because we don’t want to do what it takes to succeed, and we come up with reasons why we defeat ourselves. That point is that it’s really up to us to push ourselves to get the results we want.

Every success we experience takes action on our part. Having an idea or even a plan to success is great but ultimately useless unless we take action. The fear of obstacles along the way will often deflate our initial enthusiasm. Chief of these obstacles is the fear of confrontation with other people who have different ideas or points of view on our vision.

The fear of confrontation is quite often why we don’t succeed or take our plans all the way to their end. I hate using this analogy, but no one ever made an omelette without breaking a few eggs. If you truly believe in yourself and want to achieve success, than you cannot afford to be scared, and stand for what you believe.

“There is no illusion greater than fear”

-Lao Tzu

You have all tuat it takes to become as successful as you’ll allow yourself to be, but it takes strength and focus on your part. Plenty of people will come and go that don’t care for your success, this may even include friends sometimes. Recognise those anchors and get rid of them because they will ultimately weigh you down to the point where you’ll want to settle.

Be fearless, stay focused and remember that it all begins and ends with you. Be confident in your abilities and don’t doubt yourself or your decisions, stick by them. And no matter what happens along the way, good or bad, remain true to yourself and be original.

Work on becoming an individual free of fear and one who has their own thoughts and opinions. Give yourself time to do these things because it won’t always be easy. You’ll earn the respect of your peers and even newpeople you’ll meet. You will also gain confidence and soon find people gravitating towards you because you will have the attributes of a leader.

Remember,

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try”

-Yoda

 

The Case For Sugar

Why should anyone pay for the life choices of others? Being taxed for anyone’s life choices is plain wrong.

As a dad I have to watch what my kids eat. I need to be responsible enough to know that giving my kids junk food will not produce the best results, so I read labels and introduce my kids to vegetables and fruit more than they would like me to.

This is a conscious decision on.my part as a responsible parent. I want my kids to live a healthy life so that they can enjoy it to the max for as long as possible. What I don’t want is to create health complications for them in the future by feeding them unhealthy foods now.

That being said, I am a big believer in having the freedom to choose. I don’t like bringing politics in this space because I find that wherever politics exist, so do complications. Unfortunately for me, I’m highly opinionated when it comes to the topic of freedom and absolutely hate it when under some vague banner, a potential tax may be brought in that will see the Australian public have to pay yet more money to the government whenever they buy products that have sugar in them i.e Coca Cola.

I am blown away by how heavily taxed we already are here in New South Wales, so when I heard about this latest endeavour from our government to further help themselves to the contents of my wallet I couldn’t stay silent.

On the face of it, the tax sounds like it is meant to help with the ever increasing epidemic of overweight children. But as with anything offered by the powers that be, we need to take it with a grain of salt. After all, we all pay a yearly tax on our cars that is supposed to go towards the maintenance of our roads. And yet potholes abound. So where does that money actually go?

Meanwhile, you can’t go a week without hearing how yet another politician used taxpayer money to pay for yet another personal trip, holiday or something else entirely.

A sugar tax will not fix a thing. Just like a “Flood Tax” won’t stop the weather from being unpredictable. Yes, we got hit with that tax when Brisbane flooded a few years back, so we paid for what was essentially a natural disaster. Anyone else see the madness in that train of thought?

What may actually work is teaching kids in our schools the importance of P.E class and how daily exercise coupled with a healthy diet will see your body thank you for years to come. Unfortunately, we are teaching our kids that they don’t have to take part in sporting or exercise activities if they can provide a good enough reason, that we then are not allowed to challenge because we may upset them. In this scenario, I would rather a temporarily upset child then one who will have to make regular visits to the doctor because of poor health. Thank the P.C police for that one.

It all leads to choice and understanding the consequences on both sides of the coin. This analytical way of thinking will benefit anyone no matter the choice they are facing. Having a government get involved and pass laws automatically sees those choices shrink, which is a fundamental erosion of the basic freedom to choose.

I want what’s best for my kids and for their futures, but trying to sell me on yet another non beneficial cash grab doesn’t work for me.

Let me try and break it down. My kid asks for chocolate for breakfast lunch and dinner. As a responsible parent who understands the long term effects on their health that too much sugar has (diabetes etc), I say no and direct them to some fruit.

Basically, the buck stops with me and what I teach my kids. Does that mean that they never get chocolate? No, but they get it in small quantities on special occasions or for a job well done. See how government was easily kept out of that one?

“But England already has the sugar tax and it’s working!”. Did you happen to glance at the underlying reasons why the tax was introduced, or did you just buy what the six o’clock news told you? And if England was to jump off a cliff because it was working for them, would you join them?

I’m glad it works for them, but the economic situation of both countries is vastly different.

I prefer that I make the choice between what I buy and what I don’t buy at the supermarket. I don’t like that I could be forced to purchase an even more limited amount of groceries because everything else will cost more.

If you truly believe that the sugar tax is a good thing, than that’s OK too it’s just that you’re wrong.

The flood tax didn’t fix anything. No engendered solution was implemented to stop any river from breaking it’s banks in the event of another major storm in Brisbane. Our roads still mostly feel like an obstacle course, and paying a carbon tax didn’t put less carbon into the atmosphere.

Look at the track record of these  taxes and then decide for yourself. Don’t believe what you’re told at face value simply because someone in a suit said it will be good for you.

If you disagree, than that’s perfectly fine. For the time being, we’re not taxed on which way we should go on this subject so judge away.

Baby Carriers. Not All Are Created Equal.

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When I became a new dad I was certain I would not want own a baby carrier. They looked a bit daggy and whenever I saw a dad with one of those things strapped to his front, it made me want to cry. Somehow it made him look like his life took a southerly turn and he’d just given up and made peace with his lot in life.

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Photo credit: iVillage.ca courtesy of Lionsgate

Was I wrong about what I thought I saw? No, no I was not. Unfortunately for me, years later I became a dad and joined that pitiful lot. I’m definitely not defending the baby carrier, all I’m saying is that I grew up and found that they serve a very important purpose.

A few months after we had our first daughter, my wife and I decided that it was time to introduce her to her grandparents who live overseas. As we planned our trip we began to think about how we would transport our bubby, because carrying her in our arms through all the airport security gates would bring us some challenges. We knew we may get randomly searched, have to take our shoes, belts and other baggage on and off repeatedly, then put them all back on again. The thought of having to hold onto a baby through all of that madness would not be ideal and would cause an added strain to us and perhaps fellow travellers.

We looked at quite a few different options. Some, like wraps, were inexpensive and were all the rage at the time. We got ourselves a couple of different styles and found that they were more of a fashion statement than a practical baby carrying device. We turned our attention to proper baby carriers. We researched them on the net and ask other parents who owned different types and different brands what they thought of them. Most had told us that their baby carriers took their toll on both shoulders after extended use, as the way the  carriers were designed didn’t really do more than simply hold the baby attached to the parent. They resembled a reversed backpack for your child.

Ergobaby 360 Carrier

Ergobaby came out with their carrier which promised to alleviate the issues found in existing carriers leading to fatigue in parents from carrying their baby. Their marketing campaign focused around their product being ergonomic and comfortable. Not wanting to believe the hype or pay a lot of money for something that may turn out to be empty promises, we didn’t initially get one.

As we thought more and more about how long our journey would be and the distances we may need to cover on foot, we reluctantly relented and bought an Ergobaby carrier. This turned out to be the best decision we would make. We just didn’t know it’s significance yet.

This thing certainly delivered on all fronts. The shoulder padding was so much beefier than on any of the carriers our friends had, the strap that went across the back of the parent was much larger and a lot more padded and the clasps were much bigger and sturdier. Baby was really comfortable as well with special padding for where their legs poked out of each side so that circulation to their legs wouldn’t be hindered, and more padding at the back of the baby’s neck. We also had the option of front or back carry, which none of our friends had on their carriers.

With the beginning of our trip came the first airport checkpoint and surprisingly it didn’t feel like much more work than usual, which was great! The Ergobaby made our airport experience much easier than we were anticipating. When we needed to change our bub, it was as quick as releasing a strap on the carrier and out she came. And putting her back into the carrier was an easy task as well. The Ergobaby was comfortable and sturdy enough to last us the trip there, back and on other numerous adventures since. I has been a lifesaver.

Well here we are with our third baby now and we’re still using the Ergobaby. It’s still the best carrier on the market and they seem to only have gotten better. The pictured one above now lest you face your baby forward, something the earlier models didn’t allow for, which makes them that much better in my opinion. I’m not a trendy guy, I like living life at my own pace, but in case you are a sociable person, there’s a whole list of celebrities that love this thing as well. Ergobaby has become the number one brand in baby carriers and it’s no wonder, they kept their word in providing comfort for the baby and the parent.

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My Wife and Baby with the Ergobaby

Sleep Is For The Weak

animal-1853834_1920 This past week has been a challenge. Okay, change the word “challenge” to “wreck” and you have a more complete picture. My descent into zombiehood started a while ago but took a left turn Monday night.

I wake up early each weekday morning so I can be ready and get to work on time. This also means I have to get to bed early. Couple of things with that, I have trouble falling asleep because I can’t turn my brain off and I may have insomnia. I have trouble admitting that I have problems, especially to myself.

It’s not that I worry and stress over the events of the day, at least I don’t think I do. It’s more about all that I still need to get done. Do my kids give me less to deal with and make it easier by behaving themselves? If you think yes, then you don’t know kids. At least not my kids.

I woke up this morning to the sound of one of our bathrooms being repeatedly flushed and didn’t think much of it in my groggy state. When I investigated what was going on, I found that one of my kids had done their business NEXT to the toilet instead of in the toilet, like we’ve been trying to teach her.

In her defense, she’s still young, learning and had no steps to help her get up to the seat. Those facts brought little comfort to me. I was half expecting to find poop on the ceiling. Yes, I checked for that when I entered the bathroom. Better safe than sorry, know what I mean?

This is the same kid who, only a few days earlier, sat herself down on the carpet in her room after she had pooped. She has a way of pushing boundaries and testing my our nerves as parents.

I was pretty upset when I heard from my wife about the carpet incident, but that quickly changed into a fit of laughter when I realized what this would mean. You see, she will one day grow into a teenager, and today’s misadventure plus the carpet thing from earlier translates to parental ammo.

I digress.

I’m not quite sure what to do about my sleep deprivation. One thing I’ve thought about is taking a holiday where I could disconnected, get some rest just to reset. Then I remember that I’d have to bring my kids along and the idea seems less like a good one and more like a “same thing different setting” deal, without having to throw work into the mix for a while.

I realise that the above sentence sounded like I want to get away from my kids as well. I do and I don’t, I actually love them and miss being around them some days when I’m at work. There are just some times where they find a nerve and really settle on it while smiling at me. Couple that with my lack of sleep and maybe you can see why I don’t think a holiday will cut it.

When I was younger, I didn’t think much of sleep. It was something I had to do so my body could keep going. Now it’s a must. Before, I never took afternoon naps, now I do. And I look forward to them! Man I feel old.

I haven’t settled on a solution that will help me get back on track. I wish it were simple but I can’t see an end to what I’m experiencing. And on top of that, I feel even worse when I think about what my wife is going through as she still has to deal with a teething baby every night while I try to sleep so I can go to work the next day. I’m the sole income provider for our household, and before you get all up in arms, this decision is what my wife and I both decided.

I know nothing lasts forever, so this phase will have an end sometime, and I hope it’s soon. I’m just tired of having to drag myself through everyday tasks without 100% focus and commitment. It’s not good for me as a husband and father, or as an employee.

Things need to change if I am to be better. Until I figure out what I need to do to improve my situation, some things will obviously get less than my full attention. I’m looking at you work. Why work? I refuse to let my family get less than my best. Even if I feel all raggedy inside.

I’m not sure if anyone reading this has experienced lack of sleep and all it entails. I hope you haven’t. But if you have, how did you cope, and what changes did you make to help you back into a normal sleep cycle?

 

Chaos Lives In Everything.

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As a father of three very energetic kids, all at different ages, I can’t begin to explain to you how true those words are. Of course, they can be applied to all aspects of life but for now, I’ll focus on life with my kids.

Yes, they are totally amazing and they each have me wrapped around their little finger. To be honest, I was expecting this. I wanted it, even though I didn’t always know I’d want this kind of life.

I lived mostly for myself before I met my wife. Not much of an existence really as it never got too exciting. I’d wake up each morning, get myself together and head to work. I’d come home, put some music on and lay on the floor of my room for about an hour and just space out.

Then I met my future wife and suddenly everything changed. I had something to look forward to. I lived here in Sydney and she lived in Massachusetts. There’s no nice way to say this, being apart sucked. The distance thing was hard. She was at college at the time and I was working. This is really sappy but I ached to be with her.

She visited a couple of times and I visited her as well. Last time she left, I walked out of Kingsford-Smith airport feeling like someone had torn my heart right out of my chest. The next few days were a blur which I still can’t recollect.

As you can see, chaos was right there from the beginning of it all. In fact, she had only let slip that she was interested in being more than friends with me when she was on medication for a flu she was going through at the time. Who says viruses are all bad?

Fast forward a few years and we got married! One of the most awesome days of my life, even though I hardly had anything to eat that day. Oh well, maybe one day, we can go back to the place we had our reception and enjoy the meal we never had that day, sans all the fanfare.

Fast forward a few more years and our first daughter is born. That was the day I became a “kid guy” and more importantly, the day I learned that love could be fierce. I knew I would do anything for my wife, that goes without saying, but meeting my daughter turned me into mush.

Daughter number two came along a few years later and brought with her even more chaos than the first. She was smaller and different and just like the first, she could do no wrong as far as I was concerned. It’s funny how you never realize how big your heart is until you have kids. They are both a source of elation and woe.

Then came child number three. A boy this time. He’s currently teething. If you’ve had kids go through this “milestone” then you’ll know the fun this entails. If you haven’t, enrol in a support group now. You’ll thank me later. For the most part, little bloke has been amazing. His smile lights up the whole room, not to mention our hearts and anyone else’s that might see him. Chaos is never far and seldom friendly.

They are all great kids and I couldn’t love them more if I tried. Having said that, I have never seen a more masterful approach to chaos than when these three young chaos Jedi’s unleash their powers.

Anything from not being able to go anywhere without a travelling cavalcade of stuffed animals, blankets and water bottles, to poopsplosions, to tired temper tantrums, to spraying the surface of an entire room with baby powder. I could go on but you get the idea.

Life is chaos. Some of us manage to organized and compartmentalized our lives. Others, like my wife and I have had the chaos in our lives turned up to eleven with the addition of our three babies. It’s not all bad though, weve had some great laughs along the way and learned many things about ourselves and our kids.

Chaos lives in everything. The trick is in dealing with it. Sometimes you just have to laugh it off. Other times you may have to wait a few years before you can laugh about a circumstance you went trough, and then there’s the times where chaos has its way completely. It’s those times that you have to remember to just put one foot in front of the other so you can get through it.

Would I trade the madness for a slice of what I had before all of the above? I can’t say I haven’t thought about it. I know it’s not possible. But to be honest, after meeting our kids, my wife and I would both have to say no to that idea. You’d have to be a parent to understand that one.

It is chaos and it is beautiful, maddening, frustrating, amazing and at times bewildering. A thread of chaos can be seen in most things we’ve gone through, maybe you can relate to this in some way. I don’t know how interesting  life would be without it. That’s not to say I welcome it all the time, but it does make everything more interesting.

Learn How to Make Easy Money Online.

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There seem to be endless ways, methods and schemes out there that offer different techniques and strategies for people who want to make money online fast. What I want to share with you today is unfortunately not a get rich quick scheme. It’s really more of a program that teaches you how you can either earn some extra money or earn a lot of money, and turn it into a career where you work for yourself from anywhere in the world.

I have to admit straight off the bat that I was very skeptical of the whole thing. Why? This program offered to teach me some of the techniques necessary to be able to start earning money online, and even offered to give me my own free websites (yes that’s plural, they give you two). No one gives you anything for free and we all know that there’s always some strings attached.

I did a lot of research. I researched the brand, including what others had to say about it, and their claims. I went on forums and all sorts of websites to try to see for myself whether this was just another online ploy to grab my money. I was really surprised that after all I had researched I came up with only a few complaints and none had to do with them putting their hands in my wallet. Naturally I was intrigued and interested.

I had been thinking of starting my own website long before this. Personally I’m at that point in life where I am really tired of having to work for someone else’s dream. Just the other day I woke up with a massive migraine but still had to drag myself out of bed and go to work instead of properly looking after myself for fear of backlash. I don’t know about you but I really don’t like that feeling of having to give so much of my time up to something I do, but am not passionate about.

By now you’re probably wondering what I’m babbling on about, so I’ll just come out with it. Their name is Wealthy Affiliate and so far they have kept their word and they have delivered on giving me the help they promised for FREE!

 What or who is Wealthy Affiliate?

Essentially Wealthy Affiliate are a community of people from varrying backgrounds that all have one common goal. To make money online. Wealthy Affiliate has been around since 2005 and have become a very real presence in the online marketing arena.

The original founders are Kyle and Carson who are still around and very much involved in the day to day proceedings. They message you and you can message them back. You can even ask them for advice you may need starting out and they will personally answer you. I haven’t seen this happen with any other program out there.

They say that their goal is to see you succeed, and speaking from my own experience they mean it.

Well, let’s get to the negatives. If you’re like me you’ll want to know about these first.

 Wealthy Affiliate will teach you how to market someone else’s product, not your own.

This means that if you have a product you’d like to let the world know about, perhaps going through Wealthy Affiliate may not be the best choice for you. Having said that, a lot of what they do teach, such as how to funnel traffic to your website, how to optimise your keyword usage and a whole host of other really important principles are definitely transferable to any online business. Their focus is on becoming a great affiliate.

 You will not get rich quick or make money over night.

Making money with Wealthy Affiliate will take time and is something that even the website owners will tell you. This is the main complaint I found that people made against Wealthy Affiliate. The truth is that you only get back what you invest which in this case is mostly time, so if you are currently too busy in life and can’t afford the time it takes to build your brand online, than Wealthy Affiliate is also probably not the right way to go. It takes dedication and action on what you learn inside Wealthy Affiliate to see success. That’s not to say that these goals are not possible, but they are unrealistic.

In the two months that I’ve been with Wealthy Affiliate here’s what I experienced.

For the first seven days, I was given access to their live chat support which then became unavailable unless I paid for premium membership. I found this to be really helpful especially as I was and still am new to online marketing. Is it required to get their premium membership or is that something that they tried to pressure me into getting? No. I was given the option but they did not hold my decision not to join against me. That’s something I appreciated.

I learned how to create a website, leverage key words and choose my own audience or niche where I could provide solutions to the problems they may face. I was also taught the impact of content when it came to Search Engine Optimization. There are a lot of other useful tools  with Wealthy Affiliate that I haven’t seen anywhere else, like the mentoring feature. This is where you can request anyone of the top earners (some of which are millionaires), to help you on your journey to success. Unfortunately this is a Premium members only option.

Other things included in their free “Startup” membership that are very useful are the two websites I mentioned earlier, web hosting, training and support. I think it’s important to also mention that the sites you get are WordPress sites which to me means quality and ease of use.

What do the offer in their Premium membership and why should I care?

If you are serious about understanding online marketing at a deeper level, then I would recommend getting their Premium membership. Some of the things included in the Premium package include 24/7 365 website support. Becoming a premium member is actually a bigger step towards not only understanding how online marketing works, but also how you can maximise your efforts online and really hone in on your chosen market.

You will have access not only to the live chat feature and mentoring, but also to weekly webinars that are put together by experts in their their filed who really don’t hold back on giving extremely useful information that has worked for them and many others in growing their business. The lessons you are given as a Premium member help you to solidify your grasp of online marketing and specifically affiliate marketing.

If you want to go straight to a Premium membership then simply click here. By doing this you will also get your first month heavily discounted from $47 to just $19 for your first month. I have to say that I decided to go Premium and if I were to be honest, I should have done this from day one before creating my first website. I am very serious about making this into my career, which is why I chose to subscribe.

Why Affiliate Marketing?

I do not have any capital to invest in selling my own products. That is the main reason I chose affiliate marketing, is because there are no investments except for my time.

I know that this is the right move for me as I am only new to the online marketing game and I know this will work because I’m already seeing results from the groundwork I’ve laid out.

 Is it easy?

No, but even for a beginner like me, Wealthy Affiliate made it that much more accessible. It just made sense to become a member of the Wealthy Affiliate. They teach you from the ground up and give you all the support you need to grow and become successful.

Ultimately it is up to you what you choose to do with any of the information above. But if you are serious about changing your lifestyle or simply earning a little extra to supplement your income, I’d recommend giving Wealthy Affiliate a try. You won’t regret it.

For the Starter Membership, click here.

For Premium Membership, click here.