Healthy competition

Posted by on Mar 15, 2011 in Blog, Business, Goals, Life, Plans | One Comment

I’m an ideas person.

I even had the idea to make an ‘Ideas Bank’ where ‘idea people’ deposit their fabulous plans and people with time and money on their hands take the idea and make a mint out of it (then share it with the ‘ideas person’). I think the only flaw with this idea is that people with time and money on their hands have probably made their loot from having great ideas.

Aaaaanyway, I’ve had a great idea which I’m actually going to bring to fruition this time. I have a business plan, I’m finalising the budget, I do all this during my well-scheduled work day and it’s all coming together wonderfully.

Up until yesterday that is.

From the very start I couldn’t believe nobody had had this idea before. It’s the perfect business (for me) and I’m tripping over myself in excitement to get it launched. And terrified there’s somebody else out there that may beat me to it. But surely I’m just being paranoid and there’s nobody else living the same dream as me?

Wrong, of course.

In doing more web research yesterday I accidentally found somebody that is more than likely doing exactly what I’m doing. Except they have a team of 20 people working on it. And funding no doubt. And fancy schmancy offices. And a track record of success with similar products. Damn them to hell.

In response to this threat, I suffered an immediate headache, which made me need to lie down on the couch and sulk, which then forced me to find and decimate the chocolate stash, which soon led me to the medicine cupboard for some Nurofen, then down a slightly destructive path of self-loathing and, finally, into a state of anger, then slowly determination, gradually some fire in my belly and, finally, back to my desk and on the path to retaliation and one-uppence.

Some people can take weeks or months to go through this series of shock-disappointment-destructiveness-disgust-action-recovery when they suffer a set back. I’m proud to say I had it all done and dusted within mere hours. It was hugely unbalancing, all-consuming and distressful but, oh, the magic combination of chocolate, nurofen and resilience!

I’ve done a pretty serious self and business re-assessment during these hours and come out the other side refreshed and determined to do things even better than I had planned. It’s called competition. My business would be easier without it but perhaps not better.

Where would the Chinese economy be if they had shied away from competition? Could we even afford to jump on a plane for a holiday if we only had one national carrier (hmmm)? I can say at least, without a shadow of a doubt, that the quality of a cup of coffee in recent years has increased exponentially with the numbers of cafe here in Bondi. And imagine how expensive banking would be in Australia if there wasn’t any competition? Ok, the logic falls down there dramatically but let’s not get onto the topic of collusion so early in the day hey?

What I’m getting at here is that I have to deal with this potential threat to my business as a positive. I don’t want to get all Deepak Chopra on you folks but a little bit of optimism goes a long way. Either I give up my plans that excite and inspire me in a way I’ve never felt before or I focus on carrying them out to the very best of my abilities.

And beat the competition. Ha!

Yours in Deepak determinism…

x Andy

Geared to Go

Hi Ho!

Posted by on Mar 8, 2011 in Blog, Bondi Beach, Goals, Life, Plans | One Comment


I’m free! I’ve had a couple of days to attend to domestic duties I have been neglecting (washing, shopping, cleaning, etc) and am now ready to get cracking.

I’ve had a few people shocked that I’m not going to take some time off after finishing up my day job but I just can’t. I’m bursting at the seams to get going on my new creative ventures. I don’t want to waste a day!

The good news is, my new lifestyle demands that I start the day at a cafe, sipping coffee, whilst reviewing my experience. Followed by some more time in the sun and cool breeze blogging away. Tough times.

I then head home to continue work in my office. Yes, my workspace is a desk in my bedroom because the space:affordability ratio in Bondi Beach is horrific but SO worth it to have the sunshine and sea breeze streaming in my window and the ocean mere minutes away for my midday break.

And on Day 1, I’ve taken the first step to achieving my goal of creating a network of women in the area that I can touch base with regularly to share support, motivation, ideas, skills and so forth. The main idea, really, is to have to provide progress updates to my peers (nothing like some healthy competition between friends…).

So, my gorgeous blonde friend and I are having our first meeting next Friday morning. I’m giggling already at the thought of us both desperately cramming on Thursday night! Nah, I think we’re both super keen to get our projects up and running which is one of the reasons I approached her. She’s also fun, positive, intelligent and full of ideas. Can’t wait to start our meetings (can’t help thinking of the name The Gaggle for our little gal group of two).

So, hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go!

x Andy

Off to Work I Go

Dangling Carrots

Posted by on Mar 2, 2011 in Blog, Goals, Life, Photography, Street Art | No Comments

There’s no doubt about it…I’m a yes person.

I like to please people; I like to help; I don’t like letting people down, even to my detriment. And I think that’s ok, that’s just me.

But sometimes there is nobody in trouble. Sometimes I’m presented with an opportunity and regardless of how upset, scared or negative I feel about it, I usually take it on because 1. I don’t like to say no and 2. you just never know, you know

Well I was presented with an opportunity yesterday with the usual immediate response required. It was a brilliant idea that was solely mine for the taking. No tender or application required. The gig was guaranteed mine.

It included an opportunity to connect with over 100 entertainment industry folk who regularly need photographic services. Seriously, two of the words in the proposal were ‘National Geographic’. Other words were ‘party’, ‘exclusive’ and ‘incredible opportunity’.

This is something I would usually say yes to. Who wouldn’t, right? It was most likely going to take me down a road of photography, fun and financial success. The only problem being, it really wasn’t my scene. At the start of the year I worked out what I really want to do with my life and the steps that would get me there. And, sadly, this opportunity wasn’t part of it.

I’m still thinking about it though. I know I made the right decision turning it down but it’s one of those ‘Sliding Doors’ moments where you just never really know where the other path could have taken you.

But I stand firm by my decision which, surprisingly, involved the answer ‘no’ (followed by much thanks, explanations and “please think of me next time anyway!”). I feel like this has given me extra resolve to make things work with my own projects. I have to make it work now I turned down an opportunity that could have been amazing.

So, sometimes you try and take a bite at the dangling carrot and sometimes you don’t. This particular one was a deep orange, perfectly formed, large and tasty looking offering but I’m going to stick by my organic, garden-variety carrot this time around and hope in the long run it will be better for me.

Yours in resisted temptation…

x Andy

Organic Options

Knuckling down

Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 in Blog, Bondi Beach, Goals, Health, Life, Plans | No Comments

Yes, sorry folks, my blogs have been slowing down in frequency. You know when you can see light at the end of the tunnel and you’d just prefer to wait until you get there instead of fumbling around in the dark?

I have 4 more days left at my day job and last week I went off the rails a bit with writing, exercise, healthy eating and so forth. I thought I’d just wait until all the pesky working-for-somebody-else thing was over and done with before I got cracking on all my grand master plans.

But, as of yesterday, I realised that all the things that keep me sane, happy and healthy were the things I had given up. Why would I do that? Why stop jogging when it makes me feel so good? When did overeating ever work for me except in the very moment of stuffing my face?

What happens when I start dropping all my ‘good’ goals is my health starts to wane, my mood drops and my inspiration begins to fade. I’m at the point now (it only took 20 years or so) where I can recognise this change and jump back on board quickly.

So, there I was a few hours ago in the dark, quiet of the end-of-night (let’s not even pretend to call 5.30am ‘morning’) jogging along the promenade, wind in my hair, bounce in my step, lightness in my being and all was well. And it’s never more important to remember how good it all feels, how essential it is, to keep motivated and committed to your goals on the last day of summer.

Yes folks, tomorrow is Autumn and many people suffer a form of grievance. I am rejoicing! I love the coming of the cool, jeans, boots and coats, bright rustling leaves, the bailing of the Bondi backpacker, the snuggling in. And the knuckling down.

I couldn’t think of a better time of year to focus on a new life. I can’t wait to bunker down and snuggle into my new life. Just 4 more sleeps to go!

x Andy

Snuggling In

Best laid plans

Posted by on Feb 22, 2011 in Blog, Goals, Life, News & Events, Plans | 2 Comments

So, I quit my day job yesterday.

I know, I know. It was only a few posts ago that I was sprouting off about preparing, planning and timelines. Being smart about things. Being patient.

But sometimes you have to know when to quit. Dan and I weighed up finances against sanity, budgets against bullshit and, simply, if I could continue at my day job for the rest of the year without going slowly mad laying awake at night, without more tears, high emotion and stress.

And the answer was no. Dan and I don’t really waste life on situations that are negatively charged. I’ve stuck it out for as long as I can, to a point where there is now someone can take over my role and I can finally be free and start concentrating on me and by Big Plans.

The emotionally drain at work was sapping my passion, dampening my dreams. Taking up too much precious time. I’m going to have to seriously re-work the home budget and get some plans in place for income streams but, for now, I’m free!

I would be happier if I wasn’t writing this before ‘the big moment’. It’s all good and well handing over the sealed envelope to your immediate boss but telling your colleagues is a whole different ball game. And today is the day, mere hours away. The worst bit is having to explain why you are leaving to people who are staying. You can’t just say “because this place drives me nuts”, “due to the corporate culture crap” or, my personal favourite “because I have better things to do with my life. You can all suck it up and stay here. Wa Ha HA!”

Because I actually really like all of the people I work with. I spend most of my days with them and have learned to love them all, despite their differences. I feel sorry that I’m leaving them. I’ll miss them. I’ll miss my work (won’t I?). But there is a whole world of pain that I’ll be leaving behind too. And that’s what’s going to get me dancing around my living room celebrating in just 10 days time!!

And then, the following week, I’m going hell for leather on my own business. Sheesh, I’m excited. Finally, the time and space I’ve been craving to get my passions flowering, my career into gear. Yeeha!

Yours in freedom (nearly) and excitement (real soon)…

x Andy

Peace & Freedom

Taking off

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 in Blog, Goals, Life, Plans, Travel | No Comments

There’s a guy I know of that works really hard. Probably 7 days a week but he’s doing what he loves, which is great. One of his main focuses and passions is travel, just like me.

He works in travel and has connected with people all over the world through his work. He gets offers to stay with any number of people when he chooses to go to a particular country or city. Which is lovely, except that the guy likes solitude, just like me.

So a few days ago he decided to do exactly what he loves doing…jump on a plane to a far away country and get lost in the culture, anonymously. I can’t begin to tell you how jealous I am. How every cell in my body wants to do exactly the same thing.

I have the money, I could make the time (by quitting my job) (whatever) and I certainly have the desire. I just don’t have the freedom and circumstance. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change things for the world because the very thing stopping me is also the most important – my child.

Yes, that’s right. The guy I know doesn’t have kids. He has a wife but you can leave wives, reason with them. You can tell them you love them and that you’ll be back soon. You don’t have to make sure they’re awake, feed them breakfast, get them dressed, brush their teeth, makes their lunches and ship them off to school, pick them up again, dinner, bed, PJs, teeth, reading, playing, singing and putting them to sleep. Every day of the week.

And of course I wouldn’t give it up for the world but oh! to have the freedom again to just be able to pack a bag, book a flight and head off. Dan and I did this for about 6 years, non-stop. Every 3 months usually. Can you imagine! People thought we were crazy and I admit finding a new place to live and work every 3 months has its challenges but oh the adventure!!

But I am held firmly in my domestic routine now and I am happy, truly. But what if I could be this content and still keep traveling? All of us…our little family of three. Not possible you say? What about schooling? What about my responsibilities? Well, I’m not saying I’m going to do it but I could. I know I could because people do. Not many but check these guys out… http://www.soultravelers3.com

This family is beautiful. A mum, dad and young girl from California who decided to undertake an extended family holiday around the world and just never stopped. I think they will have been going 5 years this September with their little girl heading towards the age of 10.

They have god to guide them and their girl sounds like a little genius but, besides that, they seem pretty similar to my little family. So why can’t we do it? Anybody? Please tell me why, otherwise I might just be tempted to join them…

x Andy

Waiting World

Plans a plenty

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Blog, Goals, Life, Plans | No Comments

I’m so keen to get all my new projects going that I nearly quit my day job yesterday. Granted it was prompted by offensive behaviour from a colleague but I’m just so keen to put all my new ideas into action that I nearly dropped the ball of responsibility.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, to get things cracking successfully you have to have some plans and a timeline (unless of course you’re rich and single with no responsibilities).

I have my list of goals for the year and at the end of March I’m going to have a mini review and see how I’m tracking. I know I’ve improved my health as I’m monitoring it on a weekly basis. I’ve ticked a number of boxes to do with artistic projects and have put more effort into my relationships (which should receive an even greater boost after Valentines Day!!).

There are a couple of areas that haven’t scored points on the board in terms of practical achievements but they are bubbling away in my busy brain and should be good to go later in the year.

But life throws things at you regularly and you have to be prepared for change. So far there hasn’t been any serious spanners in the works but I feel one particular dream sliding off into next’s year’s plans. And it hurts. Because its my big one.

I would love to take 2 months off for travelling at the end of every year – for growth, learning and enjoyment but also for work. I need these journeys for material for writing and photography. For planning, discovery and connections. For enrichment and inspiration.

But alas, it may have to wait. If I’m to commit to my new (big) project I’m going to need to be home for it. Lucky I’m nearly as excited about this new work as I am about the travel.

But slowly, slowly. I have to be patient. I have to plan. I’ll probably only have one chance at this thing so I have to be smart about it.

But I also know myself well and if I don’t have a holiday planned I start getting anxious. I need the constant groundswell of excitement about an impending journey. But when and where to go? I don’t know but WAHOO I’m feeling the buzz of potential already. I’m off to make some more plans…

x Andy

Rainbow Dreaming

Art Support

Posted by on Feb 8, 2011 in Art, Blog, Goals, Life, News & Events | No Comments

Tonight I’m going to a gig at The Basement. To see a guy who’s been around since the 70′s singing the blues with dark humour. With a penchant for 90′s acid jazz, techno house, sweet girly folksongs and a decent dose of black funk, it doesn’t really seem like my thing.

I’m also getting up at 5.25am in the mornings to jog so the thought of staying up until the wee hours to see a gig is a bit beyond my level of circadian-rhythm coping. And how do I make my way into the heart of Sydney city and back from Bondi at that hour on my own?

There are many barriers to my going but I’m going anyway. And I’m excited. Because I have a good friend who is in the band and I’m going to see him doing his thing. He’s an exceptionally talented musician and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He has a day job but he’s stuck with his passion of music with regular gigs throughout his life and that’s something to cherish and applaud.

I have many friends who are singers, musicians, writers, painters, jewellers and true artists of varying kinds who have let their talents and passions fall by the wayside due to the pull of regular life. I don’t blame them, it’s hard. But in some cases it is just a plain tragedy.

One has a voice that’s pure and strong and joyous that I rarely get to hear; there’s one who brightens my day, every day, with her beautiful, colourful painting hanging on my wall (but oh to have another!). There’s another multi-talented fellow who can bring me to tears with a song but its always way too long between such moments of sweet surrender. I only have to spend half an hour with another gal who constantly inspires me but I don’t own any of art to marvel at. Another should be writing novels, the stories only she can tell with such depth and beauty but she’s so busy with life  (but at least she’s writing).

But my friend Phil is getting out there, again. Banding together with a bunch of no-doubt wonderfully talented musicians. Getting on a stage and performing with all his might. He’ll be smiling gently, as he always does, and pounding away on the keys with his usual flare. And I’ll be positively bursting at the seams if he pulls out his accordion!

So, if you’re out there and have a talent, a passion, please find the time to indulge in it, to keep it alive. There’s an audience out here who wants it. Who needs it in this life of routine and rigmarole.

x Andy

Ready to Shine

Hitting reset

Posted by on Jan 27, 2011 in Blog, Goals, Life, News & Events, Photography | No Comments

Phew. My god, it’s been a big few days!

Yes, the exhibition all came together well. I think I had a bit of a moment the night before when I was really tired and stressing over last minute necessities but mostly it all went relatively smoothly in the lead up.

I had about half an hour of nothing to do before the opening started – unfortunately not quite enough time for a sneaky scotch across the road at the Cat & Fiddle to calm me down but enough time to cruise the space and take a few pics of the gallery all good to go, waiting for the first visitors.

It was a gorgeous balmy Sydney night with a great vibe in the air, being Australia Day Eve. There was a steady stream of arrivals and I mostly had enough time to greet everyone and offer a refreshing glass of vino.

About 50 people came through (not including the 6 or so kids) and it seemed everybody had a lovely time. They were all certainly very kind about my work and I truly appreciated every one of them turning up in support. There was a spattering of strangers too which was great and apparently there was some strong interest in the exhibition during the day.

So, yes, it was a huge success. Dan and I were pretty chuffed with what we’d achieved and celebrated with some close friends and family across the road afterwards…the perfect way to end the day.

I was pretty shattered yesterday and took it easy, spending day with my son and gorgeous mum on her birthday and just cruising through the day. And today I’ve been enjoying some time to myself. Reflecting on the exhibition and ruminating on the rampage of mess throughout our house. It’s time to clean. Time to cleanse.

Though it’s been wonderful, I’m relieved the exhibition is nearly at an end. I’m desperate for some down time. Hankering for some habitual normality. But having said that, my mind is still whirring. I’m already off on my next project. I’m trying to be still and calm but I’m still feeling so inspired!

For my health and sanity I will force myself to rest though. I need to hit the reset button. I have some catching up to do with friends and family. I want to spend some quality time with Akira before he starts back at school next week. I need to get my exercise back to a daily routine. I really need to buy some toilet paper.

A huge thank you to all those who have supported me leading up to the exhibition, on the night and beyond. I have a perfect partner, wonderful family and some incredible friends. I look forward to spending more time with you all soon…

x Andy

Flash Life: New York

Hard day’s work

Posted by on Jan 24, 2011 in Blog, Goals, Life, News & Events, Photography | No Comments

So, no more time for introspection. No more indulgence in swirling thoughts or soul-searching. I have an exhibition to pull together by tomorrow night.

Anyway, the answer to all my endless questions became apparent yesterday. In eight long hours spent with 3 awesome, creative, lateral thinking, inspiring artists it all became blatantly clear why I do what I do. It’s just art. I just love doing it. And I feel compelled to share it, otherwise what is it for?

I take photos because it’s my passion. Sometimes I frame them and hang them on walls, not because I think my work is fabulous, not for fame, not for recognition, not for attention and certainly not for money! Occasionally I carefully and lovingly place these photos in books, not with any audience in mind. Just because I love doing it.

Sometimes I get all old school and invite friends around for a bit of a slideshow – sharing holiday pics and the like. Just because its fun.

If the occasion calls for it, I’ll pop some prints in frames, wrap them in gorgeous recycled papers and share them with friends, family or colleagues as gifts. Just in the hope that it will bring a bit of joy to them.

I’ve also been known to send complete strangers a series of images. For example there was a ridiculously cool skateboard shop in New York’s East Village that provided such a bounty of great, edgy pics for my exhibition I’m going to send through the entire collection for them to use as they wish. Just as thanks.

I love doing all this. It makes me feel rich, alive and engaged. And very happy. But there’s another reason for all this. It is all to do with sharing. Sharing my passions, yes, but also sharing my time with amazing people.

I had to work for 8 hours on a Sunday yesterday, without pay, and in fact I had paid someone to do the very job I was helping with. But, it was spent with really lovely, artistically inspiring, clever clever people and it was a joy. And at the end of the day, all my artworks were hanging on the walls of a gallery. And it made me really happy. And all I hope is that, tomorrow night, it makes other people happy too.

x Andy