Marching on….into April

It’s 3 months since I last wrote here on my personal blog although the Dragon Sisters blog has more consistent publications. Guess that shows where my focus has been. On business. Afer all, when you work for yourself, you have to make hay while the sun shines.

On the personal front, our dear and old faithful dog, Janie, left us for doggie heaven. She was a part of our family for so many years, and is missed by us all. But it was her time to rest, so we let her go, via euthanasia. Sasha and I were beside her side until the end. She was 15 years old and had a very good innings.

Wayne is making steps forward each, and is on the long road to wellness. There are good days and there are bad days. But, he’s vastly improved. Cooks meals for Sasha and myself and helps out as much as possible given his restricted movement with his back. I am thankful for the small improvements and the fact he is no longer in that bleak and dark place of 12 months ago. There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s been a very good 3 months on the business front. Many new clients, challenges and also a lovely trip to Bali for the Refresh, Reframe & Relax sojourn. If you follow me on Facebook you would have seen a few photos.

I loved the Bali trip as I got to present workshops all dedicated to Brand You, but best of all  was the daily pampering in the luxury our own private villa. Absolute bliss! We’re doing it all over again from 25th to 30 October. Can’t wait.

Now my friends, I know some of you that follow this blog are in business, so I’m taking the opportunity to let you know that Dragon Sisters has some openings for guest bloggers. If you’d like to contribute please get in touch and let me know what your topic is.

Love to hear what you have all been up to these last 3 months, if you’ve written a fantastic post, share the link below. I won’t be so tardy these next 3 months 🙂

Bye for now,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell 2016

It’s almost 9.30pm on New Year’s Eve here in Darwin as I sit down to write this post. Next to me is our old dog, Janie, who’s huffing and puffing her indignance at the fireworks that the loonies in the neighbourhood have already started to let off.

From the sitting room comes the sound of young girls voices – or more precisely, young women – Sasha’s friends are here for dinner and to celebrate. The girls have been friends since creche and school days. In the other room sits my son, Wayne, and nephew Jonathon. Molly, our younger dog is in with the boys in the hope some extra food might come her way.

There are over 700 of you, my dear friends, who follow my personal blog – this one. I’ve been absent for a while and I hope you’ve been catching snippets on Facebook, but nothing beats sitting down and really writing.

This has been an incredible year for me.On so many different fronts. Some people are saying it’s been a terrible year, and yes, it has not been an easy one for our family either. BUT I choose to always look on the positive side. I also never wish away any of the time.

Why?

Because there is nothing to be gained by being negative and having a pity party. When it comes to time, it travels fast enough all by itself. Every experience we go through grows us – if we are receptive to the lesson. I also know I am very fortunate to be here – 19 years post breast cancer diagnosis.

For me, 2016 has been a year of many challenges. The struggle with Wayne’s mental health issues came to a head in January. It was a massive personal challenge for me to bring him back to Australia from Spain and then to cope with managing his illness whilst also keeping a business running.

My parents have deteriorating health and as they live in Queensland the bulk of the care has fallen to my sister, Yvonne. I’ve commuted up and down as much as possible to lend a hand where and when I can.

It’s been a blessing to have Robert, my brother, also living with me to help take on some of the load of house and garden, and be a general shoulder for me to lean on. His Australian immigration application is still being process, so there is still a degree of uncertainty as to his future in this country.

The upside of all of this has been that our family have grown even closer together. My truest friends, amongst which are some of my newest friends, have shown their support and I am forever grateful to them for always being there in my hour of need.

Robert and Sasha travelled together to Spain and UK in October.It was wonderful they were able to connect with some of my dearest friends.

Dragon Sisters, my business, has gone from strength to strength despite all the personal challenges. I believe this goes to demonstrate that the formula we teach really does work.

I learn something new every day, and am always grateful for each and every opportunity that comes my way. I continue to teach English on a very small scale as a volunteer, but have also completed a couple of larger commissioned projects for clients in Europe who developed Apps for English.

I’ve lost track of how many books and blogs I’ve ghostwritten or edited. Proud to say a couple have become best sellers – and I cannot name them because of confidentiality clauses.

Many changes are afoot for 2017. It’s shaping up to be another big year with my diary looking very solid up until early September 2017. I’m pleased to say it includes many little self-care “Me Time” trips with one of the highlights being the Ord Marathon 55km paddle in June 2017.

Wishing you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and every good wish for 2017.

Love,

Michelle xx

The cursed chair

A great piece here from Sasha

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A/N: inspired by my visit to the Thirsk Museum which displays an actually cursed chair. Happy Halloween!

Isabella trembled as cold, night air blew in from the windows. But she couldn’t just close them, if she did she surely wouldn’t be able to see or hear when her husband was approaching. He was late, he should have been back hours ago.

However he wasn’t back, and as the night drew on Isabella feared he might have died out on the moor. The candles had almost burnt out when the door heaved open. Isabella jolted at the sound, she’d fallen asleep on the lounge.

Bleary eyed she propped herself up and looked to see who was coming in, relieved to see her husband. But as her husband mumbled a greeting and went to recline into his armchair she couldn’t help but feel slightly ill at ease.

Then his late returns began…

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Saturday Word of the Day: Amphiboly

It’s more about how and where Sasha wrote this that’s really impressed me!

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*Amphiboly: ambiguity of speech, especially from uncertainty of the grammatical construction rather than the meaning of the words

It was very hard to understand Ewan, especially because he always seemed to use amphiboly. This made it maddeningly hard for any of his teachers to mark him appropriately, for he always seemed to be contradicting himself and yet also not? It was infuriating how long they would have to sit and ponder his ambiguous speeches, and yet he continued to maintain his pattern of speech even after they pleaded with him to change it so as his academic remarks were easier to understand.

-END-

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Wednesday Prompt Smash: Near Miss

A great little twist in the tail.

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A/N: Whoops this is late, anyway hope everyone like this one- has a bit of a twist at the end (isn’t exactly in line with the prompt but oh well). Make sure you check out Tim’s work.

Prompt: Near Miss

Word Limit: 300 words

It wasn’t easy being a battlefield messenger, carrying top secret messages to and from different locations. Being under heavy fire tended to make most jobs difficult though, and Peter wasn’t about to let a small obstacle like gunfire keep him from being the very best errand boy ever.

There was a kind of thrill and exhilaration to be found in dodging bullets, narrowly avoiding mines and evading grenades. It came with a lot of anxiety and nervousness but still adrenaline was to be found in it and when you can get that kind of rush from a job it is hard to imagine doing something else.

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For my lovely friends and followers – update on the personal and business front

You guys are all great at keeping in touch with me via PM’s on Facebook, WhatsApp and emails. I feel a tad guilty that I’ve been unable to connect with you as much as I would like and it’s been a while since I have posted here on my personal blog. So settle in for a read and I’ll share what I’ve been getting up to.

Remember a while back I talked about the decision of whether to combine the two blogs (Dragon Sisters and this one)? – jury is still out on that one. I do feel keeping sepeerate is probably better but time to do both is sometimes problematic!

So what have I been busy with?

On the personal well being side of things, I’m still dragon boating.  I’m also co-facilitating the Intro to Paddling program for the Waterfront Warriors. It’s the best bit about the sport, being able to introduce new people to it. The structured program works well and we’ve been getting excellent feedback.

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Judy Smith & myself waiting to go through the lock into the harbour for a paddle

It’s great to be working in a cooperative environment where there are no egos! I’ve also been able to bring all my marketing skills and almost 18 years of dragon boat to help rebuild the club which came close to folding after the National titles earlier this year.

I am not on the committee as I feel my time for that side of stuff has been well and truly served. However, I do enjoy and feel a sense of needing to given back and be supportive of a sport that has given me so much.

You can check our my spontaneous little Facebook Live promo video below and see where we paddle.

 

Going paddling is what keeps me sane. I thoroughly enjoy being out on the water as it really blows away all the cobwebs. Taking out new paddlers is also a delight.

Robert, my brother is still waiting to hear about his Australian Immigration. All very frustrating and he had to gain a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery, despite 20 plus years of experience in UK, much of that as Head Chef! He had to fly to Melbourne and do an interview with an assessor for RPL – it was an easy process, but an expensive one!

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Chef Robert

It’s lovely to have him with us, and we all get spoilt with nice meals all prepared to us. Sasha and Wayne are also enjoying getting to know their Uncle better – it’s like having 3 big kids in the house!

Janie (our old dog) is turning into a very grand old lady – many of you will remember Janie.

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Janie – a faithful old friend

Her legs give out on her every so often, she can’t go for walks but loves to potter around the garden, sleep in my office when I’m in there working, or down in my room each evening. She used to get on Sasha’s bed, but can’t jump on and off anymore so has decided I’m a better bet. Molly, the young one bounces about full of energy, but knows Janie is boss.

On the business front

I’ve been thrilled that Denise Dunn from Slappa’s Thongs agreed to allow me to nominate her for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, and I’ve just got the news today that she’s through to the next round of a face to face interview. YeeHaa! Denise was a wonderful supporter of Dragons Abreast and of Lifeline Top End during my tenure there. Winning the Award in 2004 was a big boost for me and I am hoping it will be the same for Denise – she’s winning material for sure.

Yvonne and I (Dragon Sisters) have been busy with Smarkting Workshop delivery and development. I love doing the Face to Face delivery and the next one is here in Darwin on the 31st August – Smarketing101.

We’ve broken it all down into a series of 3 that build and add to each other. Now to convert it all into a fomat that can be delivered online. This is a challenge but one that I will manage!

Always fun learning about the new technology, even if it does frustrate me at times! Biggest thing is making sure I do not disappear down a rabbit hole as I come across new stuff. I’ve also been lucky to find a really great VA to help out, and to connect with some talented individuals via Facebook groups.

Dragon Sisters has a new website coming very soon and also just started a closed Facebook Group – The SMART Circle – it’s by no means exclusive, but it is business focussed and based on the ethos of being SMART. This stands for supportive, motivational, aspirational, refreshing and talented. It’s a place where those who are like minded help each other move our businesses ahead – paying it forward. I’m thrilled to have a small, diverse and truly talented bunch of individuals in the circle. If you are in business and would like to join, just click the link and ask to join.

The editing, ghost and copywriting side of the business continue to chug along and it’s nice to have Sasha working as part of the writing bureau team.

 

My next project is a business retreat in November – details will be released end of August.

Well my dear friends and followers, that’s a little snapshot of where I am right now.

Love

Michelle xx

Wednesday Prompt Smash: I will travel…

Clever working of the Pokemon Go theme!

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Prompt: I will travel across the land, searching far and wide

Word Limit: 200 words

A/N: As the twenty-somethings we are Tim and I are both deeply into Pokemon Go at the moment so this week we gave each other prompts based off the original Pokemon anime theme song. Check out Tim’s work over on Flights of Fantasy.

My bag is heavy with supplies, compass and maps along with food and water. In my hand I grasp an old telecommunications device, what people use to call a phone back in the 21st century. The winds are strong today and dust is being constantly flung into my eyes, I guess that should be expected.

I am currently in a land once called Australia, now called the stray land. Specifically I am in a small part of the stray land that was once called Alice Springs, according to the…

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How to make great video clips yourself

Do you make video clips? It’s all the rage, especially with the arrival of Facebook Live.

If you’re inMastering new skills business there is an increasing trend to use it.  In my business it’s essential I am on top of all these tools.

I’ve been dedicating time to learning!

My first effort had a few glitches with the internet cutting out, but hey, I did it! You can check it out by following this link.

Dragon Sisters blog has a post I’ve done on this topic, so if you’re going to be using video you might want to hop on over and check it out.

Michelle

 


Ramblings

The little box here on WordPress is telling me it’s a month since I’ve written anything here. Where has the time gone?

Actually, I do know. I’ve been kept busy with the business side of things. It’s been interesting times as I’ve been grappling with learning more about new fangled way of doing things. It’s really interesting! It also takes up way too much time.

Do you share this WordPress Dilemma is a post I recently did for Dragon Sisters, but I’m thinking many of my followers here may find this helpful. Then again maybe you guys already knew all this about WordPress? If not, hopefully it’ll help you avoid my dilemma.

Since it does not look like I’ll be heading back to Europe in the near future, I’ve registered (at the suggestion of one of my clients) with the NT Department of Business as a consultant. This means NT businesses which are eligible for funding from the Department are able to choose from a list of consultants and I’m one of them.

Welcome to Brussels
Welcome to Brussels – not any more!

Speaking of Europe – I’m feeling very sad tonight that the vote has been for the UK to leave the European Union.  A good friend of mine wrote this after we heard the news:

 

Now comes the hard part.

Young people and others who wanted a different outcome but didn’t bother voting have to face up to the consequences of the abdication of their civic duty.

A huge task of reconciling a divided nation in which the divisions have been etched in with a diamond-tipped, power-driven electoral chisel:

Young v Old;
North v South;
Regions v Metropolitan Areas;
Rural v Urban;
Scotland and N Ireland v England and Wales;
Right v Left;
Blairites v Corbynites;
Ukippers/Brexiteers v Centre Right/One Nation Tories,
English/Welsh v EU/Non EU migrants (now all feeling unwelcome);

The hardest part of all will be in how to appease the 52% who voted Leave, when they eventually realise that absolutely nothing (not one iota of anything that matters – mark my words) will change.

Nothing will quite literally change for about 2 years, until the steps are completed to disengage.

After disengagement, immigration rates will continue at current levels (see why below).

After disengagement, identical payments to access EU markets will continue (otherwise more EU referendums will follow).

After disengagement, almost identical terms of EU trade will be negotiated (otherwise more EU referendums will follow).

EU migrants will continue to come (armed with easily acquired visas issued by overseas embassies and consulates authorized to make decisions regardless of the wishes of Brexiteers).

New UK laws passed to replace repealed EU laws will look indistinguishable from the laws they replace, to fit in with international health, employment and safety standards and international law.

The unskilled still be under pressure as large scale manufacturing and agriculture and other sources of casual and unskilled labour evolve increasingly mechanised production systems.

In only the time it takes for hardworking, aspirational second generation migrants to graduate from university (as most of them end up doing) and enter the labour market, there will be a sudden dawning realisation.

The jobs that neither we, nor our children and grandchildren (nor the children and grandchildren of first generation migrants) want to do – cooking,

work place cleaning,
building site labouring,
fruit & veg picking,
shelf stacking,
shopkeeping,
bus driving,
bus/train attendants
nursing,
nannying,
housekeeping,
janitorial duties,
street sweeping,
night security work,
delivery driving,
post office till work,
super market till work,
department store till work,
grave digging,
elderly care work,
social child care work,
mental health care work……
Many NHS staff….

………..it will eventually dawn on everyone that the only way to get these societally essential jobs done, will be to let in some more migrants.

Migrants are good for the country – regardless of whether it is UK or Australia. I’m a migrant as are so many others and we all have a good work ethic and no sense of entitlement.

Ignorance is what causes fear. Fear of what is not understood.  Education, both of the formal and travel the world kind, is the key to breaking the cycle.

The older I get, the more I appreciate all the experiences I have lived. I am thankful to have travelled extensively, to have received a great formal eduction as well through my life growing up globally. I am very fortunate to have friends from so many different nations. Our skin colours and religious beliefs have no bearing on our friendships and I am doubly pleased this has passed on to both my children.

Time for me to get off my soap box.

Goodnight all!

Michelle

On My Bipartisan Soapbox

I am not a political animal, but I do have a number of friends heavily involved in politics on both sides of the fence. An election is in the air, both at Territory government and at the Federal level so there’s a more than the usual amount of door knocking and pamphlets in my letter box happening.

Yesterday morning I met the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, at an informal coffee catch up down at the fabulously located Cornucopia Restaurant.

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Tina MacFarlane, CLP Candidate for Lingiari, Michelle Hanton (me) standing.                Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, PrimeMinister of Australia, Natasha Griggs MP, Federal Member for Solomon

It was interesting to watch the entourage at work, and the masses of camera’s that clicked away madly, especially around the babies! Admittedly, the kids were very cute and well behaved.

So what was I doing down there?

Well, the PM was with our current sitting member Natasha Griggs to promise a PET scanner for the Alan Walker Cancer Centre if they are re-elected. I was invited as a breast cancer survivor and the rest of the small group of guests were also those whose lives have been touched by cancer.

A PET scanner is a very expensive piece of equipment – millions of dollars – and we are the only jurisdiction in Australia without one which means patients need to travel interstate to access such diagnostic equipment.

The Opposition is similarly promising the same – so regardless of who wins the election, it seems like we’ll get the PET scanner. I certainly hope so.

The thing that I find so fascinating is that if both parties are able to promise a PET scanner, then how come it has not been provided to date?

I am not as closely involved in the advocacy world as I once was, so I am not sure of all the details around reasons why, but the one thing I do know is:

  • When people combine to make their voices heard things start to happen
  • Often it takes years of lobbying and advocacy to bring something to fruition
  • Advocates are vital and advocacy needs to be above politics

I did ask the PM if the felt the role of the advocate had made a difference to services. He confirmed that a patient centred approach was always the way to go – not exactly his words, more a case of me paraphrasing.

When I was diagnosed, almost 19 years ago, we had no oncologist, no breast care nurses, no McGrath Foundation and no Alan Walker Centre – today we have all of these things thanks to lots of lobbying and persistence all round by a vast number of individuals. Several of them have lost their battles and not benefitted from the improvements to services and conditions, but those that follow do.

From a personal perspective, the work I have done as an advocate has always been driven by the desire to see better services in place for my daughter and my nieces.

As we said back when we started our campaigning for breast cancer awareness (back in 1998), it’s not about us, it’s about those who follow down this pathway. It’s also about working in cooperation with others who will benefit from the same services.

Cancer is not about politics. It is bipartisan and does not discriminate.  Allocation of funding should come regardless of who wins office at the next election.

It is also my personal belief that we need to continue to develop advocates who will continue the fight to ensure cancer patients are provided with the best services and conditions possible.

Michelle