Category Archives: Life

Opportunity

A couple of months ago, I was talking to a squash player named Karen for an hour or more about her life. I know what you’re thinking, me talking to someone – strange and unusual behaviour.

After talking to Karen that evening, I was completely inspired by the stories she was telling me about her childhood and what she has done in her lifetime. Originally from the Solomon Islands, she was an orphan, became the United Nations representative for the Solomon Islands, moved to Australia, started a law firm, later in life became a lawyer, has an amazing array of commercial and residential property to her name and much more.

With all of the incredible things she has done in her life and amazing success, I asked her if she thought she could do it all over again if given the opportunity and her answer was no.

Puzzled by that response, given the success she has achieved in her life, I asked her why and she felt it wasn’t possible as a lot of her success has come from opportunities and good fortune. Karen said that in her life, every time an opportunity has presented itself – she has gone after it with full force, never leaving anything on the table.

That got me thinking more about my life and the opportunities that I’ve never acted on. I’ve been asked to speak at Australia’s biggest internet marketing conference twice and never done anything about, have been asked to apply for jobs with two separate international airlines, a large Australian based retailer, internet marketing agencies and each time I’ve never done anything about it.

In hindsight, I think I wasn’t acting on it because I was happy in my job at Mantra Group and probably scared about the prospect of change. I’d been at Mantra Group for more than seven years by the time the above started happening regularly and the prospect of leaving a great employer and a familiar work place behind was daunting.

After speaking with Karen, I said to myself that if another opportunity presented itself, that I was going to do something about it – whatever that something might be. This seemingly small change has already lead me to speak at my first conference on search engine marketing and more recently apply for a new job.

Opportunity is about a particular set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Opportunity without action or participation is an opportunity gone begging which might not present itself again in the same format or at all.

Take them when you can.

 

Movember 2013

Movember is a great initiative to increase community awareness for men’s health issues, whether it physical or mental and that when men are living with some sort of a health issue that they are treated the same way that women are – with care and compassion.

Alistair Lattimore - Movember Concept

Each year at Mantra Group a number of my work colleagues grow a mustache in support of Movember and in the last nine years, for whatever reason I’ve never participated. This year is the year of change and I’ve joined our head office team and am attempting to grow a superb Mo by the end of the month.

There is a catch though, my Mo is a little scared and is only willing to brave the worlds criticism if he is supported through donations to help research and community initiatives through the Movember foundation.

Donate Now!

Click the Donate Now! link above and while its loading, get your wallet out and have your credit card ready. When my Movember page loads, click the Donate To Me button below my photo – I’m confident that the larger your donation, the more awesome my Mo will be, so be generous!

Break & Enter

Break & Enter - Shattered Rear Sliding Door Close UpJust before lunch today I noticed I had a missed call on my mobile and a few seconds after I picked up my phone, it started ringing again and Lorraine told me in a somewhat worried voice that our house had been broken into.

Claire had been to the gym this morning and Lorraine happened to drop in before lunch to drop some items off and was going to leave them on our back patio table when she noticed that the back sliding door was open. Initially she thought it was odd and that Claire must have unknowingly left it open, so she walked in, dropped off her items and then noticed the broken glass on the floor.

At this point Lorraine thought she heard someone in the house and called 000 and the police responded promptly but instead of having the normal boys in blue roll up, we had a Sargent, two detectives and a forensic officer who happened to all be in the area when the call came over their radio — talk about good timing!

Police entered the house with weapons drawn, cleared all rooms, cupboards, under beds, in large storage spaces, garage and even checked in the man hole into the roof cavity to make sure no one was in the house. By the time the police arrived, there wasn’t anyone in the house – good for the offender, not as fantastic for the police as it would have been great to apprehend someone.

House

While getting broken into is not on the top of my bucket list, I’m very thankful that whoever broke into our home didn’t do any damage. Other than the shattered glass pane in the sliding door, nothing else in the house was damaged. They could have easily broken the TV, damaged or spray painted the walls, set fire to the house for the fun of it — the options are pretty endless but none of that happened so for that I’m thankful.

The living area, kitchen, computer and kids rooms were left alone, while our master bedroom took their full attention with virtually everything in a draw or on a shelf, now sitting on the floor as they rummaged through looking for valuable items but again, nothing damaged – just a great big mess.

Possessions

Knowing that Claire was at the gym, I had in my head a rough time frame that she would have been away from the house. For whatever reason, I was imagining someone or a group of people systematically going through the house over a couple of hours (I know, ridiculous) and emptying it out completely of anything of value.

To my absolute and complete dismay, that is virtually the opposite of what has happened. While turning our bedroom upside down, they’ve found a beautiful dress watch I gave to Claire on our wedding day and taken that, while overlooking my equally expensive Seiko watch. They’ve literally picked up the Canon 600D and the digital video camera to move them but didn’t take them, similarly they opened a jewelry that was clearly opened wasn’t taken so I’m a little confused about what their motivation was.

This makes me wonder if Lorraine did disturb someone in the house and when she back out of the house, I presume to the front yard to call the police, the intruder(s) have escaped out through the broken glass door and over the fence. No idea if that happened or not but it is odd that more items weren’t stolen, so maybe something spooked them.

Forensics

Break & Enter - iPhone Finger Print Dust

It was great to see the forensics guy dusting everything down for finger prints, maybe it’ll help them nail someone for the crime in the future. Successful finger prints were lifted off the door frame but unfortunately they didn’t cut themselves on the glass. It also turns out that Apple products are very desirable, as every box we had in the cupboard was taken down and checked and the nice glossy cardboard is fantastic for prints – four more sets were lifted off those as well.

Insurance

This afternoon I put a call into our Suncorp Insurance to get the ball rolling with them and the process was really smooth. Rob, the Suncorp consultant I talked to on the phone was fast, clear and explained what was going to happen.

Before I got off the phone he’d already organised a glazier to call me later that afternoon to come and fix the broken glass panel in the sliding door. Rob had said if I didn’t hear from the glazier in 2-3 hours to give them a call but I didn’t need to, as they called me less than 10 minutes after I got off the phone.

The glazier, Amalgamated Glass, turned up about an hour after the phone call. Hugo and Evie were excited to see him shatter the glass into a thousand tiny pieces and vacuum them up, along with watching him refit the new glass out at his truck.

Next Steps

Claire has provided the police with an initial list of stolen items, which at this stage is just her dress watch but that might change in the next day or two. The forensics officer actually said it is normal to add things to that stolen items register months or a year afterwards when you realise an item you use infrequently is missing. I’d expect to receive the incident number for the break and enter tomorrow or early next week.

I’ve got the case number from Suncorp and have told them about the stolen watch. Again we need to update the stolen items as soon as we can and also provide Suncorp any documentation (if we’ve got any) showing that we own the items that that we’ve reported stolen such as a receipt, maybe a photo for instance.

Tomorrow or Monday I should receive a phone call from someone at Suncorp to go through our case in more detail, at which point I should find out about how the payout process works which at this stage I’m unsure of.

So far having someone break into our home has been an inconvenience but everyone we’ve dealt with so far have been fantastic. I’m hopeful that the last part of the process with Suncorp is equally as smooth and if so, they should be congratulated on really trying hard to deliver great customer service.

30 Day Challenge: No Chocolate

Shaved ChocolateAs the next 30 day challenge, I’m going to go the entire month of June without chocolate.

Following on from keeping track of what I eat over the course of an average week, which is what motivated me to cut down on my milk intake, it became clear that chocolate was another clear contributor to a poor diet.

Like most people, I like chocolate. Unlike most people, I treat chocolate as a food group and I’ve long realised I can’t be trusted around it.

Semi-regularly I used to buy a family block of chocolate from Woolworths when they were on special and demolish the majority of it in a single hit, maybe while watching a movie. In more recent times, I’ve stopped buying blocks of chocolate since they don’t last but every once in a while – one finds its way into the fridge. My chocolate habit doesn’t stop with blocks of chocolate though, it extends into anything with chocolate involved like chocolate chip cookies, Snickers, Crunchie and Cherry Ripe chocolate bars or chocolate coated sultanas.

The goal for the month is to basically ween myself off chocolate, with an end game of being able to eat it in moderation moving forward as a treat and less so as a food group.

Wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it!

30 Day Report: Drink Less Cappuccino

March was my second 30 day challenge that I’ve attempted and my goal was to drink less cappuccino. Actually the goal wasn’t to reduce my consumption of cappuccino, that was a simple mechanism to reach the ultimate goal of drinking less milk.

I did a little digging into my diet a while ago and realised I was consuming over 1 litre of milk per day during the week. The Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing have recommended energy intake for males and females in different age bands and I fit within the 8900kJ per day bucket.

Dairy Farmers full cream milk has 266kJ of energy and 3.4g of fat per 100ml, so I am consuming at least 2500kJ of energy daily or at a minimum nearly 1/3 of my daily energy intake just from milk before I eat or drink anything else across the course of the day!

It had to change and I’m happy to report that I clobbered the challenge. During the week except for a couple blips I managed only one cappuccino per day. Most weekends over the month I didn’t have any cappuccino at all. If you’re wondering about the spike on the left, I forgot what the date was at work and chomped through five espresso coffees but pulled it back into line the following day.

30 Day Challenge: Cappuccino Consumption Per Day
30 Day Challenge: Cappuccino Consumption Per Day

I don’t want to do it but I think I might try a 30 day challenge without chocolate. I have a real sweet tooth and by normal measures I treat chocolate as a food group, so I think that’d be another easy way for me to tidy up my diet a little further.