What Words Do You Want Spoken About You When You Die?

Senator John McCain died three days ago. Have you noticed the common words used to describe him? A man of moral courage seems to sum him up.

I randomly chose an article from my news feed and pulled these words from this one Forbes story. It reminded me that what will be said at my funeral is directly related to the life I am leading right now. Time to get cracking and live the life you want rather than the life you've accepted.

deep sense of right and wrong
moral courage
human decency
refusal to diminish or dehumanize people
affect positive change

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Don’t You Type At Me In That Tone Of Voice!


When was the last time you misinterpreted a written message? 

How many times have you had to explain ‘it’s not what I meant when I wrote that.’

I was listening to Seth Godin’s podcast called Akimbo and he was talking about the concept of faux intimacy, you know, when a business sends you a generic printed birthday card in a misguided attempt to infer they have a relationship with you, and it got me thinking.

When we read, the faux intimacy of print means the reader hears the words in their head in their own voice. So if the voice in their head is one of negativity and resistance to change then it is possible they might ‘hear’ your email in a way you didn’t intend it to be heard. The result is confusion which is likely to be the opposite of the clarity you were aiming for.

However, the faux intimacy of video means the listener hears the words in your voice. Video delivers the message in the tone you intended.

So, save yourself time and...

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Want People To Trust You MORE In Your Videos Then Do LESS Of This One Thing


Videos are being used more and more to screen job applicants. How trustworthy you appear on video is critical.

How do you rate your KLT factor in real life? That’s your Know Like Trust factor. The more people know, like and trust you:

  • the more likely they are to want to be a part of your circle of influence, 
  • the more likely they are to follow your directives if you are a leader, 
  • the more likely they are to want to do business with you. 

Video is great for building KLT because it lets human interactions happen when you’re not there. It’s convenient. Both for the maker and the viewer. 

The problem can be that our desire for convenience as the maker can get in the way of the effectiveness of our message.

Here’s one simple thing you can do to mimic the trust we have in face to face meetings that can sometimes be lost in the artifice of video.

Stop hand holding your smartphone

Hand holding is comfortable. It’s easy. It’s...

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2 Ways To Immediately Look Better (And More Professional) On Video


Little hinges swing big doors. Sometimes small things can have a big effect. Here are two small tweaks you can make when presenting your videos that add value way beyond the effort involved.

NOTE: Sometimes you have to break the rules, or the rules will end up breaking you. Given that, remember that what I tell you here is not chiselled in stone. Start with these ideas and experiment.

Eye to Eye

How many times have you watched a video of someone speaking, they have their earbuds in and their laptop that is recording the video is on the desk, with the inbuilt webcam pointing up at them. Sometimes they are sitting on their couch with the laptop or tablet on their knees. I get it. You have to find somewhere quiet, away from the family. Just getting a quiet spot and the video recording is an achievement at times.

image: Shutterstock

Two things are happening here. 

First, you are sending a subliminal message to your viewer that your comfort is more important than theirs. You...

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The Secret To Looking and Feeling Good On Video Is The Thumbprint Filter


Here’s a paradox. You cannot fudge looking confident on video but you can fudge confidence to look good on video.

As a documentary cameraman, I spent thousands of hours studying people’s faces while they talked. I could always tell when they weren’t confident. I didn’t know why I just knew.

Then I worked on a documentary series called Primal Instincts with Dr Paul Ekman also known as "the best human lie detector in the world.”  In between filming, I would discuss my observations with him. He suggested I was picking up on microexpressions. Microexpressions cannot be controlled as they happen in a fraction of a second, they are encoded in facial muscles, they cannot be hidden.

Up until the 1990s, there were seven universal emotions: disgust, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, contempt, and surprise. Paul Ekman expanded his list of emotions. These emotions are amusement, embarrassment, anxiety, guilt, pride, relief, contentment, pleasure, and shame.


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You Would Never Throw These Away If You Knew How Valuable They Are To Your Career

Nigel Reynolds was the first journalist to ever interview J.K.Rowling. The then fledging author gave him a first edition copy of her new book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Unimpressed, he threw it away. They now sell for $40K.

I was in the habit of throwing away something very small that I didn’t know the value of. It took a man named Victor Borge to set me straight.

Victor Borge, originally from Denmark, was a classical pianist.  He was also very funny. They called him the Clown Prince of Denmark. He starred in movies with Frank Sinatra. He had his own TV show on NBC.

At the end of his 7-decade career, I was in the first decade of my career and we got to work together very briefly.

He was to be playing this beautiful black Steinway grand piano and I was to be filming him doing it. I was setting up all the lights. I was trying my hardest to make a name in the TV industry.

He said to me, “my boy, can I see the magic you are creating with your...

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Are You Really Afraid Of Public Speaking?


When I was thirteen I used to be a petrol head, a Perry Piston, I loved riding dirt bikes. So did my brother. He was two years older, stronger and more competent.  

One weekend we were doing what we loved best. Riding. Honing our skills. Hour upon hour in local forest reserves. I hadn’t seen by brother for the past hour. That changed moments later when he appeared directly in front of me as we both converged on a blind corner from opposite ends.

All I remember was putting hands to my face and the feeling of going over the handlebars and the indistinct and painless sensation of impact. 

The next thing I remember is my brother’s horrified gaze.

I had blacked out and coming to I was on the ground looking up at a ring of faces. Their focus was on my left elbow. It was shattered.

Next day in the hospital, after surgery to rebuild my elbow and hold it all together with a six-inch screw - which I still have to this day - my brother visited and the first thing he said...

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Courage, TV and the 9 Year Curse

What would you do if I gave you nine whole years to add to your life? Would you think, what a big opportunity?

In a former life as a cameraman travelling around the world, I had what I call a ringside view of life. I got so close to a lot of people and saw, in many cases, intimately, what makes them tick.

I met many successful people and many unsuccessful people. Over time I began to notice patterns in both successful and unsuccessful people.

  • It wasn't money that made people successful. I met many rich people who were unhappy and confused.
  • It wasn't intelligence. I met PhD graduates who were stocking supermarket shelves at night.
  • It wasn't the ability to be a team player. I interviewed more than one top-level sports player with a substance addiction.

One of these patterns ... and this is going to sound very odd … is that successful people collectively watched relatively little TV.  Successful people couldn't tell you who won Idol or America's Got Talent. A very general...

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Feeling Average At Work? Some Good News

About ten years ago I bit into a cherry tomato and was stopped in my tracks. It was so tasty. I had forgotten when I last t-a-s-t-ed a real tomato. I looked at the plastic packaging and there was the phone number of the farmer who grew the tomato. I rang. 

‘Are you the bloke who grows the tomatoes?’ 


‘Depends on who’s asking,’ was the cautious reply. 

‘The happiest bloke on the planet right now,’ I shot back.

This moment came back just this morning when I was listening to Seth Godin’s podcast Akimbo while out learning on Footpath University.

It was all about the death of average. It started with a story about tomatoes in 1950 being too round. They rolled off the conveyor belt and slowed production. Enter Jack Hannah and the VF145. It was a square looking tomato. It solved this rolling-off problem. Only thing is it tasted like cardboard but hey, production increased.

They had taken perfect individual...

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How To Measure Your Courage

Whether 17 or 70 years old, this is a very worthy way to spend 5 minutes of your time. 

Robert “Dusty” Staub, speaker and author, has been measuring CEO’s courage for the past 30 years. Tens of thousands of case studies to draw upon, and he concludes  "...executives are not failing due to a lack of IQ or ambition. Most every failure was due to a lack ... of nerve – in which one or more key acts of courage were missing.”

He has what he calls

The 7 Acts Of Courage

Assign yourself a value from 1-7 on each of 7 acts. Where are you strong? Where are you coming up short? Leverage your strengths and work on your least developed.

1) The Courage to Dream & Express It: (vision, big goals, putting it out there)

2) The Courage to See Current Reality: (seeing strengths, weaknesses, the state of your business, your career, your family, your life; taking any blinders off)

3) The Courage to Confront: (telling “truth to power”, willing to...

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