Thursday, 29 March 2018

Dealing with problems

So I have been thinking...yeah I know...dangerous times....

But see I've had this thought, a little random thought. 

I was on a phone call yesterday, had taken a bite out of an apple whilst on hold (it was a long call). I had plenty of time to finish my mouthful before the person I was talking to came back. 
For whatever reason, I kept holding my apple for the entire duration of that phone call, didn't bother putting it down once - and at the end when I hung up, I noticed something.

And this is where I had this thought.

For arguments sake, forget my phone call and let's say I'm holding an apple up in front of your face. Yep, a regular crispy apple.

Now let's say I ask you; "How heavy is this apple?"

You're going to guess.  
Maybe anywhere between 100 grams metric or maybe 3-4 ounces if you're from the States.

Now what say, I tell you that no matter how much you determine this apple's weight to be, you will always be wrong - even if you take the apple from me and physically weigh it.

Yes, you're going to think I have lost all my marbles.  

So what am I on about?

The thing is, the longer you hold that apple, the sooner you will change how you consider it's weight.

To clarify - if you hold that apple up in front of my face for a minute or two, it wont be a problem - right?

But what if you were to hold that apple up in front of my face for an hour? 

Or two hours? 

Or maybe two days straight?

The weight of that apple will not physically change but the longer you hold it, the heavier it will get for you.

And here's where that thought has come in, knocking around in my back-brain until it's arrived here.

Could this be some kind of analogy for difficulties we sometimes face? 
For those times we negatively prepare for meetings expecting the worst? 
For stresses built up only from our own insecurities? 
For our anxiety's, our panic's, worries and concerns?

It strikes me that all of these things are all like this apple.

The longer you hold onto them, the more painful they become and the heavier on you they get.

Goal for you. Please remember to put your apples down.

You'll feel better for it.

Image result for friendly face

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Effort and failure - why both are good for you and your team

Hi there! Great to see you back.
Today I am running as Captain Obvious. No, nothing to do with lycra or super powers. All the stuff you are about to read, you already know. 100% logical and makes perfect sense.
You ready for the first one? Sure? we go.

"You only get out, what you put in."
See? You knew this already didn't you? Effort provides reward. More effort, more reward. If you do nothing, nothing changes. Now for the second one. Please take a look at the picture below.
This message is a simple one and again, one you've known all of your life.
No one just becomes a master, an expert or even something more than what they were, without the positive benefits of failure. Yes, you read that right. The POSITIVE benefits of failure. 
Let's look at the facts and the combo of both statements.

"You only get out, what you put in" and "the positive benefits of failure"
We all start out as beginners, amateurs and newbies in everything we do. Combine this with the first fact - effort - and it is in failure that we learn how to do better as it is one of the most efficient methods of learning.

By trying something, we often fail at it first. If we don't try, not only do we never fail, but we also never grow, improve, or even learn. Failure is something we experience from birth onward. The trick is to view it more positively than negatively. 
For every failure where you put in effort, you get to choose what to do with it.
Above the line thinkers learn from it and aim to never make the same mistake again, they gain experience and grow. 
Below the line thinkers ignore the lessons and potentially screw up the exact same way later down the track, plus they often avoid the chance to make any more mistakes.
The vast majority of you reading this will be identifying with more above the line than below. But there have been times where you fell below the line, right? That's okay too. Most everyone does from time to time. 
If you are picking below the line as your most preferred and attractive option, perhaps you need to re-evaluate yourself and the way you view the world. These articles are designed to help you get above the line and stay there. Success and positivity always rule and flourish above the line and by learning from your mistakes. Ignoring any great lessons failure can teach you, will set you up to obtain a narrow view of the world around you and potentially fail.
And again.
And again.

Perhaps not a good place to come from. If you do nothing else today and you live below the line, consider what might change if you challenge your beliefs. A positive view as a person can change your world. A positive view as a leader of people can change others worlds too.
When it comes to mistakes, there is a caveat. I am currently a department manager leading (indirectly through a great up and coming Team Leader) a customer care team of 17 people, plus working alongside a fantastic team of team leaders in a mentoring capacity as part of a larger across-the-business solutions focused role. There are a lot of people who could be making serious mistakes. Now if each of these people made a mistake on an hourly basis and I did nothing about it, then I wouldn't be much of a manager/leader at all, or be helping the business or them as individuals.

The fine line is about understanding impacts of the mistakes that "can" be made and managing those and the chance of them happening.

If you are reading this as a Team Leader, then this is all vital information to have and lead by. By putting in active levels of support (think about when you take a kid ten-pin bowling - you can put up the stoppers to prevent gutter-balls), by ensuring your people have the right tools to do their job, you consider what errors they "could" make, ensure you provide clear and concise information and help them find the drive to get things completed to the expected standards. This is the key towards empowerment. You technically allow them to try.

The better you get at empowerment, the more effort they will put in.
The more they try and take more ownership, the more mistakes they "could" make.
The pay off is they will learn more lessons and be better at what they do.
The better they do, the better your team performs.
The better your team performs, the less you have to manage them.
The less you have to manage them, the more you get to look for opportunities to challenge them even further, make their work life fun and improve how your entire section of the business performs.

Do you see how it all flows into one another? 
By ring-fencing mistakes, they quickly become "exceptions" to the normal day to day and therefore kept minimised and controlled. The benefits gained from allowing your people to make them, are massive.

If you haven't already, please read my LinkedIn article What-would-happen-i-empowered-my-team

Your role as a team's leader is to provide them a safety net. You need your people to own up to any mistakes they make, and then ultimately learn from them. You do this by leading the way, by building better relationships with them. You also need to provide yourself with permission to try and potentially fail too.
If your team see you trying, you will inspire them.
There are a few other features that "Failure" has in store for most people that as a team's leader, are important factors to consider in your (and their) journey.
Failure is often emotionally charged. A factor that stops people in their tracks. Embarrassment can play a big factor. Right now I'm betting you're thinking of embarrassment being a feature of your own journey as for a solid reason NOT to have tried things in the past, right? 
Rest assured, it's a common factor for most of us. Including those you are leading.

If you want your team to succeed, then you will have to take the bull by the horns at some stage, accept that embarrassment is an acceptable part in making mistakes and put yourself out there by trying and failing too.

In every case where you error, you will have the ability to choose how you react. And this is something you can teach. As the leader, in showing you are willing to try and fail, your team will see a vulnerability that will humanise you and be right up there with the other important leadership traits as Trust, Empathy and Approach-ability.

Give it a go - after all, what's the worst that could happen? You fail? Not a big deal, right?

An easy exercise to help.
Ask yourself and your teams to define the remainder of this question;
"Often when I fail, I..." 
1. ...wallow in self pity, and beat myself up for my dumbness. It haunts me.
2. ...get embarrassed, shut down and refuse to try again.
3. ...blame everyone else except me, just to deflect the blame.
4. ...handle it positively, do my best to learn from it ensuring my future self will thank me if it comes up again
If you answered "No, I don't do that" to the first three and a firm Yes! to the forth, then congratulations! You're well on your way.
To help your team members (and yourself) deal with any other answers, an easier thing to do is change the starting question. You add two simple words.

"Often when I fail, I choose to..." 

The addition of the two extra words can provide the opportunity for you and your team member to discuss the choices each of us have, especially when dealing with failure.

As always, it is on you to lead the way, to help your team be better, to change their views and lead them toward a more positive approach. Get your team above the line through getting them to genuinely answer "No" to the first three questions and a firm "Yes" to the last one.

By dropping the bowling alley barriers to stop gutter-balls, and assisting them to see the benefits to failure and effort, you empower them to grow.

There is no greater feeling as a leader than seeing your team succeed.

As always, if you have any questions, please add them into the comments.

Have a great day!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Whoa. Didn't see that coming. Or going for that matter. Seems like only yesterday we were winding down toward 2016 Christmas and New Year's celebrations and now we're coming to the end of 2017! 
Seriously wow. Where does time go exactly? 
Does it go to the same place as all my socks?
Thankfully for a good majority of us here on LinkedIn, Christmas / end of year holidays are generally a time where you can relax and begin to decompress from all that stress and intensity you've handled throughout the last 12 months. It is the opportunity to look back and celebrate on the wins and learn from the losses you may have had, and spare a thought for what 2018 might look like in your career for any new goals you might cook up. 
On the non-work front, it's also an excellent time to spend that much needed quality (or tolerance) time with your family and friends, and celebrate your supporters. It is also important to remember how often life has been so busy that you were forced to overlook the little things you cherish, the sacrifices you have made. Not to beat yourself up, but to make time for them now, plan how to sacrifice less in the future, find the work/life balance. Perhaps like me you're remembering those times you didn't have the patience to listen through another one of your kids terrible jokes that usually start with the punch line, then have an "oops" and then come back with hysterical giggling for the back story.
My favourites are delivered by my step son. He's 8, almost 9, loves to be funny any chance he gets. Add any kind of sugar product and he's almost inconsolable in his mischievous gigglings. Most of his jokes are almost always fart or bum related too, its the age. As a case in point, I do have to admit that I don't always stop to listen when he decides he's got a world-class joke just busting to come out and the pressure has grown too intense [pun intended]. I aim to make more time for him and will endeavour to be a better step-Dad (and Dad) for 2018. Goals, got to have them.
Fingers crossed Christmas day is going to be hilarious. Or nose-curling and eye watering. I'll bet he is intently hoping for both.
But why am I raising things we "didn't do" this year to focus on as we wind up 2017?
The answer is simple. Life is short. There are some things that might be just as important to spare some focus on. Not hitting targets, achieving goals or making a few mistakes throughout the year is sometimes okay. We learn as human beings by making mistakes, its the only sure-fire method to get better at something. Try - fail - try again, repeat. Managing our own expectations, we can have the opportunity to see the positivity around us. It can also open our eyes to things you haven't had a chance to notice. At least not just yet.
The purpose of this article is a call to action. This time of year can be really difficult for a lot of people, some of those could be right next to you at work now, you might interact with them on a weekly basis and never know. Whilst hardships are all relative in intensity for each individual, it is true that everyone has them. Think about yourself for a second - its at this time of year when you're just starting to wind down and feel that "wow, I need a break" for all the hard work you've put in over this last 12 months that the intensity is often at its highest. Maybe you've lost someone this year too.
Maybe you've had enough of your current career and are actively looking for a change. Did you know that people often throw in their jobs for new directions between now and Feb/March? This time of year is when many will make life changing decisions and often start new resolutions etc that hardly any stick to. Consider the fact you've likely been getting a little bit more tired in the last few weeks, maybe been feeling a bit less tolerant with those around you, and closest to you or perhaps you've been burning the candle at both ends and feeling a bit worse for wear. Tiredness doesn't help thinking or mood.
No matter what your situation or what you're planning, now is the time to take that look around yourself, take the blinders off a little more if you can.
I would like to ask that not only do you ensure you do things to help/care/look after yourself and your families as a priority, but that you look to also help someone else, even if its just one person. The time for extra compassion has arrived, not to mention reaching out yourself if you need any help. You can also be open to receiving help if you need some.
Each of us has the ability to help make things better. "Mindfulness" is important. Being aware of others is too. Then to act. And herein lies the request.
I'd like to put a little something out there for you to consider. It's not anything new, ground-breaking or original by any means but it will make a difference for both yourself and those around you, if you choose to roll with it.
Please pay something forward.  
Yes. Be better for someone, even yourself. Think better. Make a difference for someone where you make no personal gain. It can be a genuine kind word, a cup of coffee and a chat, a moment you open up and accept help when offered to you, anything, give help to a stranger, a friend, family member, literally anyone. 
That sounds like a HUGE ask when you're already tired and stressed, doesn't it?
It least for the first few seconds. I promise though, there is a huge WIIFM (What's In It For Me) at the start, during and after, all of which will help you with both your tiredness, your end of year stress and even your overall well being.
Please keep reading.
But there is a sizable catch to my request too though.
Don't be anonymous. That's right. Don't.
In order to make a difference, you have to be present. Be in the moment with the person or people you are trying to help. Human conversation, contact, visibility, is all about being "connected". I'm not talking posting on social media all about it either, please don't do that. I am talking about being visible to the person you are going to help. Connect with them. See the difference you make. See the thankfulness reflected. Reflect it yourself. Start the pay it forward ball rolling. It has to start somewhere.
Whilst yes, it might feel awkward, it might even feel uncomfortable, I assure you, it will 100% enrich the person's day and yours, if even only for a brief moment.
Like the article picture reads -
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
This will be my fifth year this year trying this. I've paid for an elderly couples lunch who were looking for coins to pay a note lunch, have bought food and stopped for a chat with a few homeless people, other times have helped someone get out of an abusive/toxic relationship by moving furniture using my trailer and time. These are just examples of things you can try, to look out for. Even if the effort is small, the results are often so big.
I sincerely hope this inspires you to look to the world around you. Maybe you see it already but haven't known what to do. My advice is just to try. See the plight of someone less fortunate, get involved and give it a go, perhaps just to see someone who is having a bad day and help them turn it around. Pay it forward.
On behalf of my family and I, we want to wish you and yours the greatest of all Christmas's and an even better New Year for 2018. Please reply via the comments field if you've jumped on board this train and let everyone know how it went. Your story might inspire someone else.
Your act of kindness might not change the whole world...but that one act might actually change the whole world for that one person.
Merry Christmas :)

One More BIG Question to finish up 2017

"On your last day on Earth, the person you became meets the person you could have become. How do you feel?"

So often this question raises feelings of regret. But what if it didn't? 

What if each of those times when you had decisions to make, you looked at the forks in the road, and took the one that would help you feel great should that last day scenario ever arrive?

Well I have some really good news for you.

You can. 

It's never too late.

Start now. 

You have the opportunity to look forward to meeting yourself in the future.

And all it takes is a change in the way you see the world. 

Above the line or below the line. One way is filled with regrets, the other isn't.

Choose wisely. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Two questions just for you

Successful people build each other up. 
They motivate, they inspire and push each other.

Unsuccessful people hate, blame and complain.

Quick question # 1
Which type are you surrounded by?

Quick question # 2
More importantly, which one are you?

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Team Dysfunction - hints and tips for both leaders and team members

Hi you!
Great to see you back. How has your week been?

A tricky subject because dysfunction can be obvious and subtle.

This post is in no way trying to be confronting like I have all the answers, because I don't. These are simply a few things I have been taught and thought a good idea to share. As always with these posts, take out of it what you find useful, dismiss what is not. I'm by no means an expert and the aim has always been to offer up my own learnings to promote sharing and empowerment.
Feel free to add in your own thoughts or suggestions in the comments below.

So this is specifically in relation to teams that somehow lose their way, get caught up in frustrations from small issues which then eventually become near impossible impassable mountains.
Team dysfunction almost always increases individual anxiety, pushes up absenteeism, creates friction, causes collective stress (and often perception changes of how an entire team "views" things) and generally lessens the team's effectiveness in working towards their common goal. Bottom line - it can affect a teams reason for existing. More often than not, workloads go from "coping" to "impossible", even without actual workloads actually increasing. Again, its that perception thing.

I've been very lucky in my working career to have worked with a great many teams and individuals. I've run high performance teams, varying levels of dysfunctional ones, right through to supposedly "broken" teams, those of which, thankfully didn't remain that way for long.

But how did I turn the two latter types around? No, I'm not the worlds greatest manager. I just employed some awareness and realised a few home truths, things I have been taught.

Keep reading.

The truth of the matter you need to realise is, there is no team that is ever broken or beyond repair. Same goes for every individual within it. Sure, some people may be unsuited to their roles, choose to move one, be let go or be encouraged to go elsewhere (as is the nature of business) but the main key is to realise that in the majority of situations;


There are always other factors that prevent individuals from being positive members of their team.
Realising these key features (for both you as a team member or as the leader) can certainly help how the team progresses from that point on. Being aware there is dysfunction is half the battle.

The next key feature relates to the below picture - taken from works by "The Table Group's CEO, Patrick ​Lencioni - click to learn more.

If you are the leader of the team, in my experience it has always been vital to work on repairing each of these 5 dysfunctions via working both one on one with the team members and as the entire group themselves (so everyone hears the same thing, a consistent message from you).

Just as important, if you are the team member, it is your job to be aware of the dysfunction and work on addressing each of the issues for yourself within your team, as a part of it.

For instance​ with your new awareness of any dysfunction, you have to take some responsibility too and look at yourself. A team is only ever as strong as its members, right? What if you're inadvertently adding to the dysfunction?

As a leader or member of the team, a good thing to try - ask yourself, are you (perceived or actually) any of the following people?

If you are, then the time has arrived to do something about it. You didn't come to work to cause others problems did you? I'm betting you said no, of course not. The trick will be if you can be honest enough with yourself to answer accurately.

If you have been perceived as being The Arrogant, start being more empathetic, try to understand the challenges your fellow team mates are experiencing. Empathy is something I cover often in high performing teams as this can often be lost in the pursuit of better measurements. It is a solid method of seeing something from someone else's perspective. It can also change your own.

If you're The Confused, make a list of the things you're confused about and get the answers you need. It's amazing how knowledge can deal with confusion. So many people dig themselves holes by not fronting up to say they dont understand something. Ask yourself a question - which is better? To know how? Or to pretend you know how? You get the drift.

If you're The Panic Machine, try and figure out why you feel this way all the time. A good tip is to deal in facts and logic more often than dealing with emotions. Emotions are good, but if they're causing you to panic with knee-jerk reactions, go with logic and facts about what is "actually" happening, not what you're afraid "might" be.
Consider this - if I tell you "dont think of a purple elephant". Read that again. What did you do? You thought of a purple elephant, right? This proves hacking your brain is possible. Find your purple elephant.

The Blamer - is nothing ever your fault? Are you absolutely sure about that? Not taking responsibility for your actions or your part in actions is detrimental to any team make-up. Likewise, if you are the leader and The Blamer, then you are creating a culture of fear within your group. This behaviour from a leader creates all five of these types. Like the arrogant one, employ some empathy and look around as to how people are reacting to you. You might be surprised.

The Fearful. Ok, you, my friend, need to have more faith in yourself. Helps to know that fear often comes from a combo of confusion and panic that occurs in situations you think/feel you are ill-prepared for. Worst case scenario feelings. History can also be an influence on you too. My best advice is to read some of my other posts or google up what you can do. All you need is a little bit of self-belief, ensure you have an accurate picture of yourself and to develop some trust so you can ask the questions for the answers you need to feel better. And trust me. You can do it, the world wont end if you admit your fears.

You may also be one of each of the types at different times of the day, week, month or year. Is there a trend you can see? Do you always become the Panic Machine every time you deal with a particular person? Or Blamer when dealing with someone else? Either way, being aware is again, half the battle won.

As the leader of the team and you have these people within your team, it is always your responsibility to help them/facilitate the changes these people will eventually want to strive for under your guidance. By helping, you can address the 5 dysfunctions of a team as represented in the pyramid.

But most of all, remember, no team is ever broken. Some do lose their way at times but believe me, success is never as far away as you might feel it is in the beginning when you realise something might be up.


Once you deal with the barriers causing dysfunction, your team will feel better about themselves as individuals and as a team. Team cohesion will begin, smiles will start being a lot more common, the ability to empower rises up and any historical-type difficulties will be handled by yourself and those around you, almost to the point where the team can self heal from injury. 

This post only just scratches the surface of what's possible, like I said, I'm no expert. I make plenty of mistakes, and I'm still learning. This is simply stuff I've been shown and taught in the past and is tried and tested - it works.

Yes, it will take effort and yes, it will take time and yes again, you may make mistakes too, but the thing is, if you are the leader of a team that is struggling, it is 100% your responsibility to help them resolve the issues as best you can. You have to try. You were put into your position as a leader for a reason. Back yourself like you've been backed, get advice if you need it, and get in there.

The effort now will save you time in the future. 100% guarantee.

Likewise, if you are the member of a team that isn't running right, you have a responsibility to help it too. Look at yourself, look at those around you. You already know everyone would prefer to be happier, right? And since you're all in this together, doesn't it make sense to do something about it? Consider the alternative. What if no one does anything? Your team will become even more miserable, some people will leave, your team may collapse entirely.

I sincerely hope some of this has helped you. If you have any questions or even just some clarity around some of the points, please don't hesitate to ask. If I don't have the answers, I'll find some.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

What would you tell a younger you, if you could?


Welcome back! 

Before you ask, yes, that is me. All of about 6 years old, driving a tractor. Back when in the very late 70's, driving a tractor was considered normal on a farm. Kids had jobs. Some got paid in lollies, others with family trips to the beach.

But reminiscing is not what this post is all about. Well, not quite anyway.
This all started just the other day. I was reading a couple of different articles on the subject of teenagers/tweens, with the idea of looking to help my son who - like most teenagers in 2017 - is dealing with things like his friends not being very friendly at times, peer pressure, the presence of drugs and alcohol around him, sex and sexuality, increasing schoolwork, exams, teachers, which menu to choose from when we go out (kids or adults), not to mention him finding out where his place is in the world, what he believes in, his take on the meaning of life, how to handle conflict, job, car license, fear of the dark etc. 
Yup, all good times. Sometimes frustrating for both of us. Some just the same as when we were young, some not. All the time, we try to stay supportive. 
But it has struck me quite a lot lately, just how different being young nowadays is (in places) from when I was young, or from even when you were, no matter how old you are right at this minute you are reading this. 
Almost $1,000 iPhone's in the hands of 10 year olds seems almost common place these days, not to mention the insane levels of connectivity they have. My 3 year old granddaughter can drive YouTube on my tablet or phone, without even knowing how to spell or write.
In places, times have changed...but at the same time, some things just haven't. 
For instance, I think when boys aged between 5 and 25 hang out, the collective IQ of the group drops to the guy with the lowest IQ in support. See it all the time, plus, I should know. I've tried roof surfing on a van at 80 km/ph, have grass-skied behind a car doing 50 km/ph with a pair of shoes nailed to a skateboard deck and done tonnes of other dumb stuff. And now my 16 year old son is doing dumb stuff too, even when he is a lot smarter than I was at his age. Thankfully nothing as dumb as mine, but then like I said, he and his friends are a lot smarter than my friends and I were.
But the outcomes are more severe now. Because everything and everyone is connected.
The pressures and expectations seem to be very different than they were a decade ago, and they will be again with every new generation. Buzz words like "Busyness" aim to explain how being busy is now the new normal. What about the changes in yours and your team members expectations? Consider commerce in general. 
Intensities do seem to be growing. Things are moving faster. I don't think its overwhelming or anything, just being aware of the fact things change quickly is enough of a fact to deal with.
So where am I going with all this? Why would I write the subject "What would you tell a younger you, if you could?"

Sometimes its important to look back, before you can go forward.
Are you interested in what you would change now as a result of the things you would tell yourself back then? Would you still date that girl? Marry that guy? Invest in that get-rich-quick scheme?  
And if you would tell yourself NOT to do those things, have you considered the good things that happened as a result of doing those bad things? Maybe you had a child with that person, maybe you met the love of your life in the adjacent jail cell or someone taught you the error of your ways and now you lead a life all the better for it? Maybe all that TV helped you become a winner on a game show. 
Lastly, how interesting would it be to find out whether or not you still do the things you would tell yourself not to do? Do you still stay quiet when you want to - and know you need to - speak up?
Here are a couple I found on the internet to start you off.
  • Use your voice when you have something perceptive to add. Don't be afraid, because others will be using theirs. It is better to be heard than drowned out by some who are just being loud just to be heard, not because they actually have anything worthwhile to say.
  • "Different" does not mean wrong, different is just that.

  • Fear of the unknown should be embraced - you're about to experience something brand new that you have never done/experienced before - lucky you! But be careful. 

  • Regarding equality: You deserve it. It's not conditional. You don't have to exchange anything in order to qualify for it. It's yours. Take it, and make no apologies for doing so. There are times when you'll need to apologise for the things you've done, but don't ever apologise for demanding to be treated like a human being. Don't let the fear of retribution chip away at your voice until you wake up one day and realise that you've forgotten how to speak.

  • Regarding strength: You will meet people in this world who will try to convince you that you have none. They need you to be weak because it's the only way they can feel any power over you. But you are stronger than anyone could possibly imagine. You are bright and fierce and beautiful and your feelings matter. YOU matter. And you are not alone.

  • Work harder. Surpass expectations. Ask for help when you need it.

  • Enjoy the little moments; celebrate all the good things that happen to you, no matter how small.

  • Listen to others when they speak no matter what their role in your life. Sometimes the greatest advice comes from the least likely place.

Now if I had to talk to me at 12-13, here are a couple I would have to add;

  • You will not die a horrible death when you ask out that smoking hot popular girl and your voice goes from Barry White to Barry Gibb (Bee Gees). Your face - no matter how red - will probably not explode.

  • Putting hand-fulls of cutlery into a microwave and putting it on HIGH for 5 minutes is NOT a good idea. Yes the sparks will be kinda cool and hypnotically pretty, but the smoke pouring from the front and sides will not. Nor will the look on your Dad's face. Or the Fireman's.

  • It is not the best idea to pop a fully inflated dead cow that has bloat and been sitting there for a few days waiting to be picked up. Yellow and green are not flattering colours against your skin tone. Nor is an aroma that makes other living things cry.

  • It is also not the greatest plan to stab a fully inflated Hilux 4x4 tyre with a steak knife "like in the movies" just to see what happens. It will be loud.  It will be painful. As will the five finger marks be on your leg. Also - yes, Adults can run A LOT faster than you think.

  • It is likely Mum WILL NOT appreciate the fine construction of the metal sharpened ninja stars you make in metalwork. Nor will she appreciate how amazing it will be that you are able to throw them around the house with such mind-numbing accuracy and not smash a single picture on the wall. And no, the "holes" will not add character to the house. 

  • And finally, coolness and popularity are not the be all and end all. All those popular cool kids - some who want you to hang with them, others who tried to put you down - will not be the most successful people in life you know.  

So that's mine, now its your turn to share. 

What would you tell you?