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Breakfast with a Serial Champion
Gobsmacked and feeling a strong desire to join a gym, I sipped on another cappuccino. I had just spent two hours discussing "how she made it" with Lisa Curry-Kenny, a blond dynamo in hot pink. What a story.
And yet it could be told in two words: organisation and passion. A woman who "wasn't very good at school", holds no degrees and hates being labelled a "businesswoman", although she runs a multimillion dollar portfolio of companies (with her ironman husband Grant Kenny).
Winner of 24 international gold medals, she claims she wasn't a natural athlete and had to work hard for what she won. She is living proof of her message "You can achieve whatever you want." Intensive training sets her fitness age at 24 while chronologically she is 37! She knows what she wants, works hard and either gets it or does it.
Lisa is like a sleek sports car with no reverse gear. Coach, facilitator and mentor to many through her motivational speaking, four books and as a face of Uncle Toby's for 17 years, she claims, "I can sell anything!" She doesn't care how the media or anybody sees her, "that's their problem, not mine, being critical about someone else is a waste of time". The same applies to failures, you don't spend energy on them, you move on.
For her, success is fun but it is also persistent hard work, organisation and application that leads to the achievement of selected goals. If it all sounds too hard, go and put your feet up with a nice cup of tea or read on.
"If you are healthy, you are successful. You are rich," believes Lisa. "A lot of people who are rich with money are unhappy sods, boring tired old farts, with nothing else to do in their lives except work, work, work.
It is important to find the balance between how much you want, your needs and having a good life. Everybody has to have goals for life, not just business goals. People often say 'my goal is to lose weight' or 'my goal is to make money'. How shallow, don't you want to do anything else with your life?"
"Goals have to be realistic and achievable. Some people set them so high they never see the light at the end of the tunnel. People say they 'don't have time to exercise'. Be in my shoes for a week, see how busy my life is, then you would find time to exercise." To Lisa organisation and lists are supreme.
She makes fastidious lists in colourful little books she collects and keeps a diary scheduling every detail, including what the family will have for dinner next Monday. She flourishes a sheet of paper with a grid on it and explains that this is what makes her life work a time management chart.
Lisa's greatest business reward is 'constant learning' and surprisingly, she still has one unachieved business goal; "Getting the people who work with me, to think like me and to have as much passion about their work as I do." If she could reproduce herself six times over it would be OK. Unfortunately, there aren't too many pink dynamos like Lisa around.
"People say the most important thing in their life is their kids, their work or their partner," however, Lisa believes the most important thing in your life is yourself. If you look after yourself then you have the energy to give to other people. Lisa gets up at 5.00am to train, returning at 7.00am when her kids are just waking up. "They haven't missed me, there's no guilt feeling."
She and Grant alternate mornings to train, "Not that he always gets up, often he just turns over and I'll sit there going 'damn, I could have gone training or for a walk'." She saves masses of time and energy by getting rid of fluff. Fluff includes lunch, which is just a quick sandwich at her desk.
Lisa's advice if you ever have 'too much to do' is to look at your organisational skills. Come back to the really basic questions of, What do I really want? What makes me happy? Whether it's career or motherhood, "You can have it 'all' but it depends what 'all' is." Whether you are at training, work or with your kids, be there. Even lying on the couch relaxing, just relax.
Her greatest personal reward is "three beautiful children". Each work day she sets her alarm for 3.00pm, as once she got so involved with what she was doing, she forgot to pick up the kids. Never again! Her kids come before business meetings "it's the responsible thing to do" and the phone is off the hook during meals.
"I've just been to Romania with World Vision and visited orphanages and the AIDS hospitals, and when I came back it made me realise how much we take for granted, how lucky we are and how much we whinge about things that don't really matter." Where will Lisa be in five years? Same as now she hopes. She is very excited about an anticipated trip. "In a couple of years about 20 of us are going for three months to the Northern Territory with campervans, motorbikes and jetskis."
So much for being multi-millionaires, and having lots of people to do everything. Amazingly, Lisa does all her housekeeping except, she concedes, Grant's mum helps with the ironing and Lisa's mum buys the groceries. And the washing, simple, she does it at night when the kids are in bed.
Sure they've got seven staff but all their personal things they do themselves. No soft options. According to Lisa nothing can be used as an excuse. She relies on her own resources and juggles her time so that she can be there for her family. What is Lisa's maxim for success? "Depend on yourself to achieve whatever you want."
Lisa's seven secrets to successful self management
1. You are the most important person in the whole world.
2. Control your stress because only when you are stress-free can you make good decisions about where you want to go in life.
3. Goal setting. Know what you want, know where you want to go and how you are going to do it.
4. Exercise. No secret or simple way. You have to exercise at least 3 -5 times a week for 45 minutes, if not at least twice a week for 30 minutes. Something is better than nothing.
5. Food and nutrition. What you put in your mouth does make a difference. When you feel sluggish, lethargic or irritable, it's probably because you are eating foods that make you feel that way. So if you want to be full of energy, enthusiasm and confident put in the right foods. Like fuel in a car, put the good stuff in, you'll get the performance.
6. Balance in work and family. Know what you need to do to have that balance. Don't make excuses, just be organised. Review that balance when it doesn't work. People say to me "Gee, you're really set in your ways and I say no, I'm not, it changes every week." Planning, time management charts, personal organisational skills, lists, be organised.
7. Absolutely love what you do!