22 years ago, my darling Karen walked down the aisle and we made a covenant together and started an exciting adventure.

That adventure has led us across Australia, from the Pilbara in north-west Australia to the suburbs of Melbourne.

We’ve holidayed throughout the country and in her homeland in the UK.

We’ve had two houses and a range of jobs and cars.

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When we buy a new plant for the garden, we want to give it the best possible opportunity to succeed.

We read the instructions, choose a location that will match its unique requirements, water it regularly and fertilise it.

And hopefully, after we have done everything right, it will grow and thrive.

Of course, there are some plants that find a way to grow despite a complete lack of nurturing.

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Goals are great.

Big goals are even better.

But they can take a long time to realise, especially if they are worthwhile, so today, I want to encourage you to find joy in the pursuit.

Embrace the lessons that you are learning along the way.

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Even if no-one notices…

Even if you get no recognition…

Even if others are doing the wrong thing around you…

Even if you are giving more than you seem to be getting…

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A good first impression is important, but we already know that.

Smile, be positive, shake hands firmly, make good eye contact.

Ask intelligent questions.

Look sharp.

Leave them wanting more.

It’s important and we know that the effect lingers, so we are on our best behaviour.

But what about the second impression?

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What are you anticipating?

Will it be a great day, or an ordinary one?

Will it be full of excitement, or mind-numbing tedium?

Will it be full of laughter, or scowls?

Will you succeed, or will you embarrass yourself?

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Winston Churchill once famously said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

I’ve met a lot of people who are experiencing challenging circumstances.

It’s hard and they obviously don’t like it, but they linger there.

It’s all that they know and they can’t seem to move past it.

If that sounds like you, let me encourage you today to keep going.

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Are you waiting for inspiration before you start?

For that moment when the stars align?

When a neon sign tell you what you should do next?

When the waters part?

When the muse makes her suggestion?

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In Mitch Albom’s wonderful book, “The Time Keeper”, the main character Dor has a conversation with a man named Victor.

“What you have done to this point cannot be undone. What you do next…”

“What?” Victor said, “What?”

“It is still unwritten.”

I don’t know that your past has been like.

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It seems obvious that a doctor who cares will be able to provide a better standard of care to her patients.

And a leader with passion will be much more effective at influencing the people around him.

A chef who loves cooking will be able to deliver a higher level of flavour and presentation.

And a customer service representative who smiles and engages with her clients will be able to create memorable and positive experiences.

An enthusiastic teacher can inspire an entire classroom.

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