The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mould it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
- Steve Jobs
During my various careers I, and projects I have worked on, have won acclaim – locally, nationally and internationally. I have been rewarded with recognition by my peers and acknowledgement by others.
And despite these successes my greatest sense of achievement has come in my current career, from my students - what they gain for themselves, how they grow and develop, the opportunities and possibilities that open up for them as a result of the influence, at least partly, of spending time in a room with me. And at the same time, I am very aware that I have achieved at least as much growth in so many areas as a result of spending time in a room with them. Any kind thing they share with me is a bonus. The real prize for me is how inspiring they are.
Some of my proudest achievements have actually been those of my students.
- My students and I were featured in an MTC Story of the Week (“The Value of What We Do”) on 13 January 2012.
- the students who found employment after conversations with me not because they mechanically went through a process but because they changed who they were and what they saw was possible;
- the students who simply needed a nudge to do what they already knew they could do and who will never again believe that they can’t, because now they know they can;
- Jody, who came my class because she was overwhelmed at her first attempt at university and wanted some practice at formal study, and after two months was so self-confident that her transformation was remarked on by outsiders. And she returned to university to study nursing and make her own contribution to the world;
- Jack, who had to make a personal presentation to attain his Engineering Associateship but didn’t know how to go about that, and who, after some conversations and coaching, was so relaxed that he sat on the desk at the hearing to deliver his presentation and won his membership;
- Suzanne, whose new sense of determination to succeed academically surprised even her, and who described my style with the immortal, ‘Oh no, he’s not a “teacher” teacher!’
- Yousef, the Early School Leaver who told me he now wanted to go back and finish school;
- And Ali who complained to me that he was depressed – no job, no girlfriend, no house, no future – and within months reported to me that he was working, was engaged to be married and had put a deposit on a house. Later he would tell me that his wife was pregnant.
For me, these are amongst the proudest achievements of my life.
Student retention and engagement:
a) 2011 – Retained 13 of a class originally of 16, over 12 weeks, with full Certificates for 9 candidates and Statements of Attainment for 4. Three students gained work during the course.
b) 2012 – Was praised by a Manager for my work engaging and retaining “Early School Leaver” students over 9 weeks. He described it as performing “a minor miracle”.
Satisfaction rating: Average 4½ out of 5 (“Excellent” to “Outstanding”) from students .
Star Ratings: During my period as Work for the Dole Supervisor the (Government-audited) ”Star Rating” for my office rose from 3 to 4 ½ stars out of 5. The last two activities I ran achieved 100% or better “completed places”.
Recent Life Achievements
- I painlessly shed 30 kg in 9 months (and have kept it off for more than two years) using a technique I learned in NLP training. The results were so commented on by friends, colleagues and acquaintances that I wrote the book about how I did it. The book, Weightloss Without Willpower, is available on Amazon.
- I have gained a kind of immortality (though not the sort I really want…) with one of my websites archived in perpetuity by the National Library of Australia in the PANDORA Archive of Australian websites.
- I was invited to join the Mensa organisation but thought there are more important kinds of intelligence that were not tested, like emotional and social intelligence.
Next challenges (2012-13)
- Sing with the Sydney University Graduates Choir in the 2012 performance of Handel’s Messiah.
- Learn to fly a microlight aeroplane.
- Complete and promote my second book, If This Then … What?
- Learn to speak French fluently.
Previous life achievements:
- In my previous occupation in television production I was active in the International Television Association (Australia) where I quickly became a Committee member and took on roles as Communications Manager, Events Manager, Vice-President, and ultimately President.
As Events Manager I produced and managed the annual Moby Awards for four years, growing them from a very modest and humble event into a very sophisticated high-end, black-tie function at major venues such as the Sydney Opera House, with multi-camera coverage and live music.
- I was one of four international experts, from the U.S., Denmark, Germany and Australia, who were invited to Munich in 1992 to judge the ITVA International Video Festival Awards for the world’s best international corporate and non-broadcast productions.
- In 1992 I gained my Pilot Licence, a lifelong “bucket” goal.
The numerous awards I and projects I worked on (as producer, director and/or writer) received include:
Two programs collected three awards at the 2003US International Film and Video Festival in Los Angeles, including a Silver Screen Award and two Finalist (third-place) Certificates.
This is in addition to two awards taken out in 2002 in the New York Festivals where the drama,Communication Skills, won the only Silver World Medal awarded to an Australian production.
The documentary On the Edge took out a FinalistAward, cited for “outstanding achievement”.
Other projects have been awarded:
2002 Silver Screen Award, US International Film and Video Festival,
2 additional Finalist Awards, New York Film Festival,
4 US Broadcast Designers Association [BDA] Awards,
2 Australian Writers and Art Directors [AWARD]Awards,
2 ITVA Moby Awards,
NSW Premier’s Award,
2 Australian Teachers of Media [ATOM] Awards,
Australian Video Festival Award,
and THE AUSTRALIAN Awards for Excellence in Publishing.
One program helped gain Mercedes-Benz Australia a prestigious and fiercely-contested international direct marketing award.