What defines your Self-worth?

Self worth

We live in an increasingly fake world and I feel like it’s getting out of control.

Photoshop – one of the tools contributing to our ever-more counterfeit society.

Staring longingly at the latest cover of Vogue, she reminds herself why she’s putting her finger down her throat.

What if this was your daughter?

Kids, teenagers and adults are continuously bombarded by this ‘fake’ world. And this isn’t confined to females. Publications targeted at men do it too.  Should companies not be held accountable for misrepresentation? Surely if the models themselves don’t actually look the way they’re being portrayed, that’s false advertising?

I for one feel strongly that it has to stop.

Some positive steps

Thankfully some countries, such as Israel and France, have started seeing some sense by introducing measures to prevent models from being underweight. This is a step in the right direction.

Nevertheless, I think we as consumers from a grassroots level need to start holding companies morally accountable for their behaviour.

If you alter in any way, shape or form the way a person’s body or face looks – that’s fraud. Why even use a human model then? Why not simply electronically create the perfect model out of thin terabytes?

I get it – sex sells magazines, articles and products. But at what cost? Forget about teenage eating disorders and suicides; what about the number of adults suffering from depression because they feel they fall hopelessly short of the prescribed ‘look’?

Models have unsustainable routines before photo shoots: regular steam room visits to shed excess water weight; crazy ‘diets’ and pre-photo shoot pump sessions – which all gets airbrushed anyway. All to create a look that no one can sustain.

Even body builders gorge on food laced with oil, sugar and calories post competition – why? Because our bodies are not designed to run on 7% body fat.

Why then, are we relentlessly trying to sell the image that is unattainable? Funnily enough, just as I typed that the answer came to me. It gives companies the perfect combination:

That which is both desirable and unattainable.

Which is – Big. Business. $56.2 billion in the US alone.

fake-photoshopped-social-media-images-6Problem is this is starting to spill over into everyday life. This picture (left) is one of many on this link on how ordinary photos have been retouched to get a sense of why you shouldn’t compare yourself to anything on social media too.

I remember joining a dating website seven years ago and giving it a bash to see if it would work. I had my reservations BUT I truly believe you can’t have an opinion about something until you’ve tried it.

On one meet up I arrived early having finished errands quicker than expected. I glanced around the mostly empty restaurant and surmised that I’d definitely arrived first.

I was wrong.

Looking at the menu I suddenly realised there was an arm waving at me from across the room. It was the woman I was meeting from the dating website. I apologise in advance, as I’m going to be brutal here – but I do believe that one shouldn’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

She looked like the woman who ate the woman I was supposed to meet.

I have a simple question: why lie?

By posting false pictures of herself she did more damage than owning who she was. One of the sexiest attributes I look for in a woman is confidence.

Truthfully, the website didn’t work for me because I prefer to be intrigued by someone enough to challenge myself to make an introduction and go from there – ask questions about them and who they are; learn about their essence rather than be told we’re a 92% match based on our profiles.

It’s easy to hold my gaze; it’s harder to hold my attention and I live by ‘how you look might attract me; but who you are is what will keep me’.

Can you really blame these women though (and guys for that matter) when so much emphasis is constantly placed on looks?

Where do we go from here?

We all have our own choices to make and when I get chubby around the edges it’s through no one else’s fault but my own. So it’s in my hands to change that. How I look is derived by what makes me comfortable. When I was 18, having a great body was the only way I thought a woman would be interested in me.

How grateful I am I realised what a lie that was.

I’ve never bought a Men’s magazine since.

What can you do for yourself and your children in a society still obsessed with looks and body image? Great question.

  1. Build your self-worth based on who you are inside – not what you look like on the outside.
  2. Avoid beauty magazines at all cost. There are far better places to read articles – trust me.
  3. Be comfortable in your own skin; if you aren’t, think about what (healthy) steps you might be able to take to get there.
  4. Ask yourself: Is there any real benefit to looking different? Is looking different moving in a healthier direction? What type of person are you trying to attract by changing? (If that’s a motive) Does looking a certain way impact on who you’re trying to be as a person?
  5. IF I look a certain way, is my confidence changed to such a degree that I will act in the way I wish I would now? Second to that is ‘can I act that way now simply because I make a decision to do so?’
  6. The overriding question I believe you should ALWAYS ask is: Is this making me a better person? And am I adding more value to those around me (okay that’s two questions, sue me).

Instead of waiting for companies to exercise better ethics – let our own life choices dictate how we’re fulfilled and not allow our self-worth to be shattered at the end of a Photoshopper’s death brush.


Is Change really ‘As Good as a Holiday’?

Change & Holiday

Where did this saying come from??! I ask this because, based on University Hospitals website, I’ve had two out of the five ‘Most Stressful Life Events’ in the space of a month:

  • Moving home
  • Job loss (retrenchment in my case)

With an overseas holiday as recently as December 2016 in the memory bank, I can safely say this move hasn’t left me feeling like I’ve had a holiday.

Or has it?

I can’t deny that my move was probably a far cry easier than 90% of people who move. Three months back the owners told me they were moving back into the apartment. Incredible how six and a half years can evaporate in an instant – and the hunt began.

Thanks to AirBnB, Cape Town rentals have gone through the roof AND the number of properties available is drying up like the dams in the Western Cape. Pickings are slim and what is available is tiny and waaaaay overpriced.

Two weeks before I was due to move, and still without a new abode to call home, I was sent a message from the agents for my building. It seemed like it was heaven-sent:

813 in your block is available from June.

Happier: yes

Holiday vibes: nada

After inspecting the apartment I was happy it ticked most boxes. Not only was I moving into a bigger place with better views, all my furniture fits and cheaper than anything I’d looked at – it was six stories up from my current location and more importantly directly opposite the lift. A godsend when moving furniture!

Enter Gratitude on levels never experienced before.

Still with a degree of stress though, mind you. With minor renovations needed to the new apartment overlapping with renovations starting in the old apartment, I effectively lived out of three apartments for 10 days staying in a friend’s spare room while betwixt abodes. I’m only now, as I type this, 100% in 813 having had my first night’s sleep there.

Still, no holiday vibes yet.

The person who invented this saying lives where? I’ll be there in 5 minutes”

If moving is not stressful enough, how about we throw in a lapse in brain functions resulting in locking myself out of the new apartment for good measure? Even after being so vigilant and ALWAYS checking my pockets for the new keys and yeah, this is one of those ‘dream’ holidays you wake up from and exclaim ‘Thank f@#k’.

But you know what? While moving ranks up there with death, divorce, disease and destitution for stress – now that I’m in, I finally see what the proverb is trying to teach us.

Different scenery evokes excitement for what will happen. It ignites our soul. It brings the promise of new experiences. A time to reflect on our power to create new experiences.

  1. The start of a holiday brings back memories of previous holidays; moving reminds you of all the great memories you created inside of those previous four walls (apparently it triggers the same parts of the brain as when you actually experienced it too, so no wonder)
  2. A holiday gives you a break from the bustle of life and a chance to rejuvenate; moving shows you that even though it’s stressful – that stress does, in fact, end and calm is restored.
  3. Holidays remind you what you love about your life and what you are thankful for; moving reminds you that while your house is made of brick or stone, it’s love that turns it into a home.

Thank you, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for your quote. Understanding change and the opportunities it brings can – in fact – be as good as ‘rest’ as you may (or may not) have said 122(ish) years ago.

Sometimes the best insights will only come long after the fact. Don’t get caught up in life’s shenanigans to throw you off being you and enjoying all that life has to offer.

Everything in life is a choice – these experiences help remind us to choose to focus on the positive side. It’s contributing to my feelings of invigoration and inspiration at the moment.

That being said, I can’t wait for my next overseas trip!

Change inspiration


If you Want it; Go and Get it

goldfish jumping out of the water

I think I could be a serious contender at the Procrastination Olympics. Oh – the snooze Olympics too. Or maybe snoozing would be an event like long jump is in the decathlon?

As with most things, there is a ton of information around ‘how to beat procrastination’; but if we really honest with ourselves we usually procrastinate when we have to do something we don’t enjoy doing.

Have you ever procrastinated before doing something you adore? I doubt it.

I’m not interested in the daily things we all know we need to do – wash up, make the bed, take out the trash, exercise… I’m interested in the things we all proclaim we want.

Dream job


Fulfilling relationships

Loads of money

(Not necessarily in that order)

This question is particularly interesting to me now because I have the time to do what I want; what has made me happy for years – and make money from it.

“Not enough time” is usually all our excuses around not having what we want.

What’s interesting about procrastination and my new found freedom is that it will really test whether I truly want this. I think when it comes to big decisions procrastination shows us if we’re prepared to do the hard yards.

It’s easy to think about being a successful writer – but are you prepared to write at every opportunity?

It’s easy to think about being a successful business owner – but are you prepared to have a few sleepless nights wondering where your next client is going to come from?

Two *family men I deeply respect have said things to me that resonate.

‘To be successful you need to be happy doing what others don’t want to do’. This isn’t the only thing he’s told me and by far not the only thing he lives by to be successful.

However, what stands out for me about this statement is doing what others won’t do. I think about people on Idols or The voice saying ‘I’ve wanted to be a singer my whole life’ but have never had the struggle of singing to 3 people in a dingy bar or even just doing what’s necessary to sing as often as possible.

It’s easy to want the fame and money – but have they really done everything necessary to succeed? Case in point – where are any of those winners now? Where was the drive to push past the 15 minutes of fame?

Another *family man when asked ‘when did he decide he wanted to be successful’ responded that for as long as he can remember he always wanted to be the best at what he did – whatever that was. That drove him to put in the hours to learn any new skill and master it. If you master something – people take notice. Look at Stephen King. Michael Phelps.

This might be a massive oversimplification and yes there are many interlinking facets to being successful – but at its essence if we want it:

  1. What does success look like to us?
  2. We need to decide that’s what we want.
  3. Work out what to do.
  4. Practice it as often as we can.
  5. Take massive action (I’ve heard this from so many top performers worldwide recently)

The question is – are you able to take the action that’s required at each step? That last step feels like the heartbeat throughout.

In matric I worried too much about which cricketer I could replace in the 1st team. I should’ve practiced every day to be as best prepared for that. Instead, that fear kept me from even picking up the bat once and not making it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That lesson has stood me in good stead.

Worrying about whether I will be ‘good enough’ or not can be demolished by action.

If your training includes cycling 300 kilometres a week for three months solid – would you worry whether you’d be able to finish a race of 110km?

And that leads me to my last point: quality.

We can go through the motions and do the steps necessary but if it’s the bare minimum it will never be enough and we will probably say something like ‘luck wasn’t on my side’.

Cycling 20 kilometres every week seems like action – but we just fooling ourselves.

The quality of our destiny is the result of the quality of our outcomes.

The quality of our outcomes is the result of the quality of our actions.

The quality of our actions is the result of the quality of our mental state.

The quality of our mental state is influenced by the quality of our mental preparation.

How we put this all together determines where we’ll end up.

I hope you’re as invigorated as I am at that thought.

*I make this distinction because I think being involved and present in your family’s life is AS important as being successful in business. We need more men to think of their family and success in those terms. I believe the world will be better for it.

Quality Actions


Retrenchment or Rebirth?


Even after the most destructive fire – life finds a way and transforms the landscape.

On the face of it – being retrenched sounds like a disaster.

But why?

We get accustomed to a way of being. We become settled in our comfort zones. We settle for ‘this is the best we can do’.

We also prefer to listen to all the talk from everyone about ‘how tough it is out there’ and take on everyone else’s fears. And THAT is where we make our biggest mistake.

We listen to other people’s fears.

True – I don’t have kids to worry about and I’m sure that would have an impact on my outlook, but I believe retrenchments are a fantastic opportunity to truly take stock of what we want.

I’m being retrenched. Fact; but now more than ever the phrase ‘we get what we focus on’ is important.

I have a choice: focus on how difficult things could be or choose to believe in the abundance of the universe and do what I need to and allow opportunities to flow.

It’s incredible how people come into your life to help you. I’m already experiencing this. I also love how an idea will suddenly appear in my head. The incredible start to what’s step one in creating a better life.

Thoughts create words

Words create actions

Actions create habits

Habits create character

Character creates destiny

Positivity is my filter I choose to look at everything that happens to me. If your mind is not a fertile breeding ground for positive thoughts to appear then how can you create a positive life?

I’ve been through worse, eight years ago the company I worked for was liquidated. I had no job, limited experience and no vision to create a direction for my life. The world’s economy was in free-fall and my friends in the recruitment industry told me they had no prospects for me. Thankfully, I had tremendous support from my folks to help me through that difficult time.

Jump back three more years and having no idea about who Distell actually were, when recruitment companies asked ‘who are the top 5 companies you’d like to work for’ I listed them every time. Even with a conscious wonder of how I could add value to them.

Enter that loss of my job and I was propelled into a career that enabled me to do just that in a specialised field to not just Distell – but Coca Cola as well.

We can’t see into the future and we have no idea who we’ll meet and what opportunities will present themselves to us.

And therein lies the lesson from that experience: we don’t have to know all the answers; we just have to be open to and believe they will, in fact, happen.

My last day is incredibly on my mother’s birthday – the woman who gave me life.

When I look back to that day in years to come I will see that this was my rebirth.


I see my life  like Lego.

Only we don’t have the instructions.

Every experience, work related or otherwise, is another building block added to help create my masterpiece. Each on its own apparently meaningless but truthfully a beautiful opportunity that releases my ability to think creatively on how they fit together; and release the potential to shape my own future.

And together – builds my own unique fun design to play with every day.

I can’t wait for my next block to play with.