Loss Leaders

4 MIN READ

For all of us who have been in businesses, the loss leader is a valuable part of the retail industry. For those consumers who are stark raving mad for screaming ads that shout the latest super cheap sales that have you storming your local Westfield in droves, the loss leader is every dream come true. A vacuum cleaner for $49? YES! A pair of the latest shoes from your favourite brand for $29? YES PLEASE! The DVD box set of Gilmore Girls for $39 to celebrate their new season release? I AM IN!!

Melbourne based professional speaker

The loss leader only brings benefit when it is transformed into something more profitable.

The loss leader gets us going. It sets our heart racing for the retail thrill, our feet running to the local outlet, and our credit cards tap, tap, tapping our way to instant gratification. The loss leader demands fast attention and instant action. It requires a snap, impulse decision where the time that lapses between the advertisement and the purchase is so lightning fast that it could only be seen in the grainy pixels of the security footage in slow-mo.

If the loss leader does its job properly, we end up buying the advertised product with the speed of a thousand gazelles. But that is not all. On the way to the must-have product we see other items. Then, as we make our way to the retail altar also known as the counter, we see more. And then we see more again as we stand in line behind five other comrades whose mouths are watering just a tiny bit more than ours. Shiny items. New items. Items that are bigger and better and even more desirable than the insane bargain we already have in our hot little hands. And we imagine owning that extra item too. And we picture ourselves picking it up and giving it a home at our home. And we calculate the saving we have made on the loss leader product. And we justify the additional purchase. And with that, the deed is done. The loss leader purchase is extended. It is transformed into an investment that we were simply destined to have. We are convinced in our hearts that the loss leader brought us to the pathway that was always meant to be.

The loss leader only works for the business owner because it transforms the profit lost in that first sale into profit gained from the additional items we buy. if the business was only to sell the loss leader, without turning it into something of worth, the business would not last very long. Sustaining the losses from the sale of the loss leader can only be done for so long. If the loss is not turned into profit, the business would eventually fold.

I hope the metaphor is already emerging for you here. Losses offer no profit or gain in themselves. By definition, they leave us empty handed. They bring us nothing. They only detract from our lives. Losses hurt. They cost us something real, tangible, important. Sometimes that price is high. Losses can be expensive. The price can be exorbitant. Operating only in the loss without finding a way to make it profitable is simply unsustainable.

I like to think of the losses in my life as functioning like a loss leader. On their own they are costly. They make us pay a price in our time, our emotions, our relationships, our career, our health, sometimes even our sanity. In themselves, losses make our life unsustainable. If all we had was the loss, we would not be able to continue. If we stopped the process of our life at the loss leader, we would all have to shut up shop.

But the direct cost of the loss never reflects its greater purpose, and certainly doesn’t highlight its worth. The loss leader works when it is used as the first part of a bigger strategy. It is only when the loss initiates a sequence of attracting profit that its full value is realised. The loss opens opportunities for gain that could not come any other way. Engaging in the loss, feeling its pain, embracing the price tag allows us to accept that it is essential to us. This is the approach we can adopt to maximise the benefits of any loss in our lives.

I have put this outlook to work for me through countless seasons of loss over my life. On the days where I feel the sting of the loss, I remind myself that I will find a way to strategically transform the loss to bring gain. When the price of the loss pinches me hard, I encourage myself that this cost can become an investment into a different outcome. In this way, I reframe my concept of loss and see it as an opportunity to invest into a profitable future that I create. I am convinced that the loss actually gives us the chance to make unique, strategic, deliberate gains. The benefits of the loss come when we see it as the fist step in a bigger, more positive sequence.

And somewhere amidst this process of transforming loss into gain, I have found that the real magic happens … In reframing my perspective on life, I reframe my concept of myself. I see myself as the loss leader, because I am the one who leads the loss with clarity of purpose and precision focus. I am the captain of the ship and the driver of my destiny. I am the one who transforms every adversity into gain. I am the strategic leader of the loss, and my choices turn the price of the loss into an investment into gain.

I am not alone in this. Countless inspirational heroes across cultures and throughout time show us again and again that adversity can lead to triumph. Hardship can give rise to success. The battle can end in victory. So Loss Leaders, onward and upward! The investment will return.

Persist.

Love Letter

3 MIN READ

I went for a walk today. It was the first walk I have had in a while. Life is busy. I work long and hard through days that sometimes feel like they are getting shorter. I love it all though because I am passionate about my work. I am fuelled by a sense of mission which drives everything I do, and everything I have, towards the fulfilment of my purpose. I do get tired, I admit … but I never grow weary of this mission. It is an honour and privilege that I appreciate every single day. What I do is directly connected to my Infinite Self.

Now I am home from my walk, and I have pulled my laptop out. I am sitting on the small balcony that connects my bedroom to the view of my little street. It is not glamorous, but it does make me feel special. It is a private little space that I use to press the pause button on my life. From my spot here I reflect on life. I think about me, and I think about you too. Right now, I am bursting! For the past hour and a half I have been consumed by thoughts that were ready to explode out of me … here is what I am compelled to share with you today:

You are spectacular. There is no-one like you in the entire world. No-one has ever been like you, nor will there ever be. No one could take your place. You are the only one of your kind. You are more precious than rare. You are a one-off. A singular, never-to-be-seen-again treasure. You are perfectly unique and especially distinctive.

Kerry Anne Nelson Professional Speaker

Your beauty cannot be equalled or surpassed. It is beyond compare.

You are priceless.

You are worthy.

You are enough.

You are everything.

 

You have a heart of gold that is made full as it flows in love to your people. You have a unique compassion, a sharp insight, a profound understanding, an endless investment. You care deeply about those around you, giving selflessly and without question to meet the needs of those you love. You are a bastion of love, a defender of justice, an advocate for those who can’t defend themselves. You have so much to offer. Safety. Acceptance. Warmth. Strength. Hope. Empathy. Encouragement. Support. Courage. Momentum. Promise.

The gifts that you have for the world will leave a lasting impact, and you are the only one who can bring them. Only you can walk the steps of your journey, combining moments of opportunity with your inimitable offering to enhance your world. You make everything better simply by doing your part. You make the most of every opportunity that comes your way, because you exist to make a difference.

Sometimes your involvement feels small, and it seems to dissolve away quickly. Other times the ripples of your influence spread far and wide, creating changes that last. In it all, you have an effect on the world that can only be made by you. Only you are able to steer your course. You make decisions, connect people, resist wrongs, keep trying, win battles, maximise opportunities. In your powerful autonomy you do the big things and the little things that only you can do. 

Champion the cause of the incredible human being you see in the mirror. Care for them with fondness, compassion, grace. Nurture them with tenderness, optimism, hope. Protect them with strength, pride, importance. Nourish them with rest, health, well-being. Expand them with learning, risks, action. That person in the mirror is your greatest asset, your most valuable prize, your most precious resource. They are the victor of your battle and the hero of your story. They make it all happen. They make it all worth it.

And now, I would love you and I to make ourselves a cup of tea. Let’s just linger here and inhale the significance of the moment we have just shared, together …

Don’t Rush Out Of Church

3 MIN READ

Life is often busy and rushed. Sometimes the rushing comes from deadlines and the pressure to keep up. Other times it comes from anticipation and the excitement of something new. Whatever the reason, rushing can feel stressful and scattered, and it can often result in us neglecting the most important parts of life.

When Alec and I were married we did what everyone does and employed the services of a photographer. Fortunately for us, our photographer ran his business from his home, which was right next door to ours. It was wonderful to share the day with a neighbour and friend. The exceptional service he gave us on the day, and the jaw-dropping quality of the photos he provided after, showed that he deserved his outstanding reputation.

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Kerry Anne Nelson Professional Speaker

It is easy to get caught in the rushing whirlwind of the every day

This was a busy day full of gushing rush and organised chaos. It was a day filled with a whirlwind schedule and emotional moments that swept us off our feet. Alec and I were both the same on that day. Even though we loved every minute, the day was fast and furious and sometimes felt like a blur. It would have been easy to miss the flashes of sparkling moments that showered all around us that day. With so much to do, and so many feelings buzzing around, we could have floated away into our own reality, not noticing everything that made the day so spectacular.

Our photographer was a seasoned professional, having been in the industry for decades. He knew that it was typical of the bride and groom to become caught up in the thrill of the day. He had seen people miss out on the special moments that time would transform into life long memories. To help us connect with our guests straight after the ceremony, he passed on advice that remains with me to this day:

“When the ceremony is over, don’t rush out of the church. You will want to go fast because it is so exciting and new, but if you leave the church too quickly, you will find there is no-body outside. All of your guests will be inside with you, so stay there with them, and share the first moments of your marriage with the people you love.”

I was so grateful for his suggestion, because it was the one tip that made me focus on savouring precious wedding-day moments with my loved ones. These moments would never come around again. Without this advice I suspect I would have rushed out of the church, and missed out on priceless moments of connection with my guests. The words of my photographer expanded the meaning of my wedding day to include the connection and relationship that I share with all of my loved ones.

To this day, those words from my photographer still ring in my ears. I reflect on the wisdom of this advice regularly. As I get older I see more and more clearly that our lives are made full only when we share them with the ones we love. I know what it’s like to feel rushed and pressured. It is a sensation of frenzy and adrenalin that can have us racing right past the life we live today. To be caught in a life that becomes a blur of forward pursuit and anticipation about the future is to overlook the defining importance of the relationships we share with our people. We must come to value the time and attention that it takes to connect with the people who share our journey. This investment provides us with the support, significance and compassion that we need to sustain a life of unstoppable passion.

When Everything Changed Forever

4 MIN READ

In sharing with you today I would like to explore how we can strategically pull our words together to craft the stories that have the capacity to open up the deepest passions of our heart. In fact, I would like to suggest that, from before we can even remember, we have been crafting a story that has lead each one of us to the things that we are the most passionate about today. You have come here with your story, and you carry it around with you everywhere you go. You have stories about your childhood and family, your experiences in school and work, your friendships and the events of your life. You also have stories about the way that certain things have affected you, and how you have become the person you are today. Each of you have a series of stories explain how you came to the work you do now. What drew you to it? Why does it suit you? And how do you continue to pour yourself into it every single day

I want to tell you about the time in my life that showed me just how powerful story is to ignite our deepest passions, and change the outcomes of our life. Actually, I am going to tell you two stories. The first story is about my husband Alec. It does have an end, so it comes as a neat package we will all understand. It has a beginning and a middle as well, so let’s get started …

Melbourne based professional speaker

We delighted in sharing our life together, 24/7.

In May 2014 Alec and I were both stretched. Working our online retail business full time together was tough. We were in constant pursuit of goal posts that always seemed to be moving. We were both exhausted. On the 27th May I finished a two week stint of Jury Duty that I did simply to make the most of an opportunity of a break that I had wanted for years. Now, I am the world’s worst nurse, and I was tired. Please believe me when I say that you would be better to hunt for sympathy from a hungry bear than to come to me when you are unwell. My absence had placed Alec under immense strain, and on this day Alec was so run down that I said to him in all of my warmth and compassion “Alec, you’re not well. Why don’t you stay home and rest, and I will take care of things at the warehouse for today. We can watch the State of Origin together tonight.”

It was weird that Alec didn’t answer my texts or emails that day, but I thought maybe he was just getting the rest he needed. After work, I picked up my sixteen year old Isabelle and we grabbed supplies from the shop on the way home. State of Origin: Instant Treat Night at the Nelson’s. I lead us both into the kitchen, bustling through to dump our bags on the bench. As I came around to the other side of the bench, I saw a sight that caused instant panic.

Alec was lying face down on the kitchen floor. I felt scared. I was confused.

My heart was pounding and my head was spinning. This must be a joke.

“Alec? … Alec?”

He didn’t respond. Even though I feared the worst, I walked over to him and touched his neck. His skin was just as soft as ever, and the shaggy brown curls of the hair I always loved covered part of his face. But his skin was stone cold.

I have never felt the world rush so fast and yet stop so hard.

I sent Isabelle out to go and wait on the verandah while I rang the ambulance. Everything from my waist down was literally shaking. I leaned against the bench to help me stand. But from my waist up, I had a job to do. I gave all the details they needed, but when they asked me to turn Alec over, I couldn’t.

“I don’t know what has happened, so I am scared of what I will see on his face. He is cold and his body is stiff and heavy. There is no point, sir. My husband is dead.”

I learned later that my husband had a heart attack caused by a fatal combination of alcohol and medication. It was a tragic accident that no-one saw coming. I could have drowned in the dull, overwhelming cloud of grief, but I didn’t. My recovery consolidated lessons that have changed my life, and allowed me to be free to live for my passions without limits. My story is the second story, and it is nowhere close to the end.

I have learned by experience that our stories are more than just coffee conversations. Our stories are where the most powerful part of our identity is formed and held.  Research shows that it is in our stories that we come to understand ourselves and others, that we interact with our world, and that we gather the information we use to move forward in our lives. Our stories are like our own personalised meaning generators. We throw all of our experiences, thoughts, feelings and knowledge into our stories, and The nature of the story we construct establishes our position in any given moment. Our narrative defines our capacity to believe, to respond, to change, to grow.

I’M MOVING!!! :D

< 1 MIN READ

Over the next few weeks access to my blog may be interrupted as I move data across to my new website: www.kerryannenelson.com

I’m not there yet, but the countdown is on. I will keep you posted.

Then bad news is, you might not find me here when you come to check in.

But the good news is that my new website will have all of the usual stories that you know and love, plus loads more content, and exciting features, and projects that I am working on for 2017. So hang in there with me, and please look me up when the time comes that I am no longer here. I love being friends, and there is so much more of the story to share. We have only just begun!

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Finding The Voice Of My Infinite Self

4 MIN READ

To know that we are valuable is vital to the health of our very substance. As social creatures with a heart that beats for compassion, relationship and significance, each one of us can be truly fulfilled only if we know that we have made a difference. Our Infinite Self is completely realised only in service of those around us, through the establishment of a legacy that allows our effects in the world to outlast our physical bodies. We need to know that our days counted for something bigger than us, and that in finding our Purpose, we have found a way to make some one else’s life better. We want the healing refreshment of Passion for outward service.

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Daily prayer and meditation helped remind me what I was like on the inside, and this person became my offering to the world

It was by enlarging my capacity for service that I was eventually able to grow beyond my voice strain injury, but this really was no walk in the park. My treatment involved over six months of voiceless silence, which crushed me. Even as the treatment progressed and permitted an hour of talking each day, this didn’t restore my classroom, or my singing, or my time with friends and family. I had been told that I would sing and work again only if I was dedicated to the treatment that silenced everything I loved. Even if this therapy worked, I faced more than one whole year of a life of isolation. I was lost clinging to the remnants of a life that could no longer exist.

I responded poorly. My first reaction of anger was quickly followed by despair and hopelessness. I knew that a full year was too long, and this surrender ushered in a dark depression. I cried most days. The deep pain of losing everything swallowed me whole. My days started with unbearable misery, so even the discomfort of normal feelings were unbearable. Dizzy vagueness was accompanied by stomach cramps, back pain, and butterflies that made me feel sick. I turned to alcohol to drown the tiredness of my daily grieving, and ate myself into obesity in an attempt to avoid the strain that hunger brought.

But this was just the start. After about six months I started to experience panic attacks and anxiety that sent my head into a spin and made my throat constrict till it hurt. In working through my counselling, my psychologist explained to me that I had developed an adjustment disorder. At that point, I simply couldn’t find a way to accommodate this new life of silence. I took a few months to absorb this diagnosis, but then I realised that my recovery required me to learn how to be an expert in psychological flexibility. My therapist encouraged me: “It’s hard, but it’s not too hard.” She was right.

What a wonderful opportunity! In taking up this challenge, I came to love myself in entirely new ways, because I started looking for the person inside me again. I embarked on a life changing quest to reconnect with myself as an Infinite person who needed the gift of a new voice. In this search I remembered I am kind, generous, motivated, intelligent, funny, enthusiastic, energetic, ambitious, outgoing, sensitive, thoughtful, compassionate, persistent. I realised that I am a unique person who loves words and learning and talking and reading and writing. I live to serve my family, and to connect in honest transparency with others. I am driven by goals that put my strengths to work to set me free.

Remembering this person set me on a pathway to recovery where I started to find new ways of demonstrating who I always was. I didn’t need a voice to write to my people with emails and texts and social media posts, to build my business with my husband, to study psychology and learn again, and to work out and lose weight. As my confidence and happiness started to return, so did my voice, and so did opportunities to teach. At first I taught in a small group homework centre, then at university with a microphone and adult students who quietly managed their own behaviour, and then in a special behaviour school with one single student who needed all of my softly spoken attention. In retrospect, this disorder was one of my life’s most disguised blessings, because it taught me how to pursue fulfilment with real world optimism, purpose-driven flexibility, and identity-driven passion. It taught me that the cliche of ‘being true to yourself’ can only be real if we acknowledge that we always have strengths and abilities that can be used to express ourselves in ways that serve others.

In this 18 month journey of recovery I learned that all roads lead to Rome, where Rome is my unchanging identity, and all of the roads are the twists and turns of life’s journey. In getting back there, I figured out exactly what my ‘Rome’ was made of, and I realised that psychological flexibility allows my unchanging core self to adjust to any circumstance that life throws at me. The road you take really doesn’t matter, as long as it is headed to Rome.

Zig Ziglar talks about the difference between long term happiness and short term pleasure. We  all want to experience the profound happiness that comes from serving others because this lasts longer than the burst of short term pleasure that comes from seeking selfish, short term gain. We all can experience this if we combine a profound knowledge of ourselves with a defining commitment to serve others with everything we’ve got.