I hate being vulnerable

It’s a scary thing to open yourself up.

Most people live most of their lives closed – too scared about what may happen if they open up – even a little.

I can be quite candid. It makes some people uncomfortable – even some of my closest friends and family. But let me please be the first to tell you that I don’t like sharing that much either.

But here’s the power of opening up oneself – it has the ability to change things, people and situations. The truth is hard. It’s hard to tell and often it’s hard to receive.

Someone who had struggled with their weight for years once said something very profound to me: The soul feeds on truth. When it’s starved of truth it feeds on something else. This is the source of addictions.

I recently wrote a book that I loved writing and had known for a long time I’d write but when I decided to make it public – I was terrified. I posted the link to it on my facebook page and on the same day deleted the post. Why? I was scared to be that vulnerable.

I thought of what this level of openness had cost some people when it came to work and other business opportunities. I’m a business coach for crying out loud – what would potential clients think of such detail about my personal life?

And in that moment of fear the lizard brain took over. And I let it win.

I loathed myself for such weakness. But as soon as the lizard brain had declared its victory with the deleting of my fb post – I realised what I’d done. I’d given in to fear of how I’d look over the purpose of the book.

I had to get my power back from that lizard brain. So I wrote this post. And I won’t be deleting it.

I hate being vulnerable. It’s hard and it’s not fun at all. But I’ve realised this: when I allow my truth to be told my soul is satisfied.

We’ve been taught that fear, pain, discomfort, ridicule and yes even rejection are terrible things and we should do everything we can to avoid them. What a waste! These states in wise hands are priceless (irreplaceable) tools to get us to our destiny. The best news: They are all outward feelings that deceive us into believing they are inner gauges. I beg you to not believe this lie.

I’ve often wondered how I would know when my work was a success. At first I thought it would be my clients telling me how much my courses had changed their lives – or my blog readers telling me how something I wrote so resonated with them or settled inner battles- but nope. While all these are flattering that’s not how I measure my success.

I measure my success by how satisfied my soul is. When I’m happy and feel good about Hannah and what she stands for (no matter how cringe-worthy) then (regardless of who applauds and who doesn’t) I’m an utter and total success.


P.S. I don’t often dedicate posts but this one is for my dear friend Loiyde. Tell your truth and dare to live it every day. I love you much my friend. I await your greatness to be revealed.

Knowing when it’s over

It’s perhaps one of the most underutilised principles of life. And many suffer for it.

So this morning one of my deo cans ran out – I was surprised by how quickly I trashed it.

Often I’m the person who’ll hang onto empty deo and perfume bottles – or turn lotion tubes upside down in the hope of squeezing out one last ounce – I do this in the kitchen too not wanting to waste a single drop of product…

But trashing that empty can today – that was a milestone for me. It was proof that (finally) I’m learning to accept when things have come to an end. And more importantly when and how to move on.

You got that from an empty deo can! You’d ask. Yep. Life is always teaching if we choose to learn.

I’ve milked cows that have long stopped producing and (please animal lovers don’t crucify me for this one) but at times continued to milk long after the cows were dead. This is even worse than crying over spilt milk. Far worse.

Accepting when a cow has stopped producing and/or recognizing the cow is dying (or dead!) is a reality that is at times terrifying to acknowledge. The alternative though is far worse.

Pay more insurance – I think not!

So my insurance company sends me an email the other day saying my car insurance is going up – and I’m like: huh? Why?

So I’ve heard that insurance companies say that even though the cost of your car decreases in value every year (every moment you have it actually) the cost of replacing it increases.

Anyway I don’t know much about this but I called my insurance company and said – “My car is worth less now than when I bought it – why, pray tell,  should I be paying more on my insurance?” I’d be lying if I told you what the insuarance agent said because I don’t remember.

Anyway I told them I was going to shop around for cheaper insurance because I didn’t feel I should be paying more insurance for reasons mentioned above.

Long story short – they recalculated my insurance and I didn’t have to pay the increase. In fact the recalculation worked out a tad cheaper than I was paying initially. I was quite proud of me for saving myself a few thousand bucks for the year- and all it took was a phone call.




Screw you! How dare you shop with us!

That’s what I feel most businesses say to me when I spend money with them.

The service levels in South Africa are atrocious. I can’t take it anymore! So I’m demanding better service.

I’m the annoying customer who promptly asks to see the manager and reports disgusting behaviour. I’m that crazy woman who stands in the middle of a store – calls a business’ head office and tells them which store I’m at – describe in full detail the nature of my grievance and make clear how appalled (just appalled!) I am at the revolting service.

But I’m also the shopper who makes a big deal of fantastic service. I call store managers and rave about the service of either the entire establishement or point out the wonderful staffer who just made my day through wonderful service. On ocassion when that service exceeds any expectation I’ll find out who at that business has pull- send them an email to tell them what a wonderful experience I had.

I believe this might be the only way we begin to make businesses aware that if they don’t treat us right they will lose our business.

Has anybody every shopped at Game Westgate? It’s a frustrating experience that is bound to age you a few years. So atrocious is the service it’s stopped my husband and I from ever setting foot there again.

Our experience has been that this store will (at any given time) have tens of sales people milling around and never, not once in the many times we’ve there, has a sales person come up to us to help us.

In fact my experience has been that they see a customer coming and they turn their back on the customer. Other’s will be on their phones – because of course that is WAY more important than actual tending to their customer’s needs.

Game’s fate was sealed when I ventured to buy a vacuum cleaner. There was no one to help me in that section. Eventually I managed to chance a Game staffer to request help. This staffer then proceeded to tell me to follow him so we could find the person who was responsible for this section. I almost had a heart attack.

“Why doesn’t he come here?” I asked, so shocked I could have peed in my pants.

“You want me to leave the vacuum cleaners – where this guy is supposed to be- follow you so I can look for him and ask him to please come back to his station and help me!” Sheer madness.

The staffer walked off – I guess in the hope I would follow him – or he couldn’t have been bothered what I planned to do. So I did what any self-respecting shopper would do – I left to spend my money elsewhere.

On the flip side of this very interesting coin – my husband, insulted one too many times by similar service at Game, decided to venture about 15 minutes drive from our home to Makro (Struben’s Valley). The difference in service was STAGGERING. When he told me about this Makro – I promptly jumped into my car and rushed there to buy my vacuum cleaner.

Not only was the vacuum cleaner station manned I was promptly served by three (3!) fantastic, warm and friendly sales people.

After I’d selected a vacuum cleaner I decided to shop some more. One of the sales people got me a trolley and proceeded to help me find the rest of the items I needed.

He made sure my time at the pay till was short. He then escorted me to my car and helped me unpack all my goods.

Game Westgate is literally 2 minutes drive from our house but whenever we need appliances or electronic gadgets we drive all the way out to Makro (Struben’s Valley) because the shopping experience is worth it.

Boo Game Westgate – Boo!


How we change the world

Nothing has revolutionised the world like the free flow of information.

It was haunting for me to see Wikipedia (and other major sites) go black this week in protest of bills, which in essence would kill the way information on the net is shared. Many websites would simply have to shut down because they could no longer allow users to freely upload content.

How would that limit how much we learn each day? How restricted would we be from acquiring (and spreading) information and ideas? How many experiences would we be robbed of? How utterly poor we would be!

I had my first Public Speaking workshop for the year yesterday – I am constantly amazed at how this is a skill that so few individuals and businesses aggressively pursue.

Not only is it a remarkable way to share ideas it does something advertising can never do – it provides compelling human connection between speaker and audience. So much so that a great ad will cause a stir (maybe) and people might enjoy it but perhaps take no action. However wonderful public speaking leaves the audience asking (begging even) “what do I now?” This often results in action.

Formal advertising versus connecting with people one human being to another via conversation sparked by public speaking- well need I say more?

As part of my program I work with individuals to tell their stories via various Public Speaking platforms including the media. Media coverage is a powerful (and proven) platform to share ideas, give alternatives, raise awareness- it boggles the mind that this skill is so under developed and so under utilised.

In our workshop yesterday we spoke about education in South Africa and the tragic incident that happened this month at UJ. A woman was killed. A woman was killed. A woman was killed.

Immediately the human brain looks for someone to blame. Who’s fault was this incident?  Who do we accuse? Where do the fingers point?

Why was there a stampede? Young people in South Africa are hungry (HUNGRY!) for knowledge they believe will improve their lives and secure their financial future?

How many organisations in this country provide learnership programs for students who have just finished high school? Shockingly plenty. Why do so few students know about these options? Very good question.

Late applications are now said to have become an annual phenomenon. We saw it last year. Twelve whole months passed between last year’s crazy influx of students at tertiary institutions and this year’s fatal stampede. How many organisations went on a nationwide campaign last year to invite students to join their learnership programs?  How many used the media to raise awareness of said programs?

Who do we blame? Us. All of us.

I feel all of us failed these students. We failed them by failing to look for alternatives. We failed them by not telling them about the alternatives that were there. And we failed them by not speaking out.

This is not a debate about the state of education and who should be doing what; it’s simply a statement of fact: There are alternatives to tertiary education provided by a significant amount of organisations around the country. Those alternatives are not being explored as much as they could be.

A woman was killed. It should never have happened.

Far too many organisations are quick to talk about their profit making ventures. How about the parts of their operations that have the potential to change lives – why are those not highlighted? Not just for publicity sake but for the sake of changing lives?

What I tell all my delegates in media training workshops is this: Every one has a story to tell. Every organisation at any given moment has a story to tell.

I have never run a workshop where delegates didn’t have (compelling) stories to tell about themselves or their organisations.

Last year we saw hoardes of young people clamber over each other to register for education. How many organisations between that time and now spoke about how they could be part of remedying this situation? Sadly too many waited. How many will wait for next year?

I coach people to speak and brand themselves successfully because I know how much it can change their lives and I know how that will inspire them to tell stories, start movements, and do something with their lives that matters.

We are all sitting on vast amounts of wealth. Our portion may not be monetary but we all have something incredible to share: experiences, skills, knowledge, various resources – never in the history of mankind have we had so many platforms from which we can share this wealth.

Sharing valuable information results in a world of empowered individuals. The internet has magnified this.

Not sharing  sometimes results in tragedies that are a shame on who we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to stand for.

Here’s to staying in the rat race! Not…

I’m reading perhaps the greatest book ever written on creating financial wealth.

Some of you may have read Rich Dad Poor Dad – yeah I’m kinda late on this one. I wish someone had put it in my crib the moment I was born. So I’m putting it in my son’s.

In a lot of my posts I recommend books I’m reading or articles I’ve come across. What I find quite interesting when I speak to people about these wonderful pieces of literature is the reluctance to get a hold of the stuff I’m recommending.

Some people tell me they can’t afford to buy the books right now, or “I’m so busy I just don’t have the time,” or “I’m not much of a reader”- Really?

If I told these same people I had an investment opportunity that could yield their returns a hundred fold and did a whole talk showing them power point presentations and diagrams etc of how this would happen do you think they would make the time then to invest? And do you think they would “somehow” come up with the money to make the investment? My guess is YES! I’m quite certain most people would.

Getting a hold of awesome literature (in this case business literature) is that investment.

Really brilliant people are constantly putting stuff together that has helped them succeed. Some of it took them YEARS to master. They compile it so that receivers can gain that knowledge in a fraction of the time. In my opinion whatever one pays for this incredible insight is really peanuts if you consider the long term ROI (return on investment).

I’m one of those people that love formal study. I’ve studied at MBA level but let me tell you there is SO much more I’m learning from reading super smart people like Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos, Seth Godin  the marketing Guru of our time, Robert Kiyosaki a teacher and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, Tom Peters who wrote the article I suggest to all my clients: The Brand Called You and the list goes on… Am I saying ditch formal education? Not at all. In fact I encourage it.

What I am saying though is that there’s a kind laziness that keeps us in a place of working so hard and yet barely enjoying our hard earned cash – other people enjoy what we work so hard to attain. And there are some people who are shouting “Hey You! You don’t have to do that! You can have your cake and eat it too!” What madness would ignore such a call?

Other than the mere fact that making the most of all this fantastic literature might just change our lives and the course of our children’s lives – I dare say I think it quite arrogant for people to shun the opportunity to gain more knowledge.

It is a privilege to be able to grab the opportunity to improve one’s education. There are people who would like to but can’t simply because they were born into situations where it’s a lot harder to access the resources so many of us take for granted.

When my clients tell me “I’m not much of a reader,” or how much time they don’t have to research and find ways to make a of success of themselves I tell them: “You are opting to  stay in the rut.” Why put blinders on to the awesome information that’s out there? You do deserve better. Knowing better is how you get better.

I don’t mind buying books or paying for seminars and workshops that teach me the principles of how business and money work. I don’t mind spending yards of time searching for such info either. Those spends are investments. Very valuable investments.

Turning down super information that could help you get out of the rat race and actually enjoy life is like saying “No thanks I quite like being a rat in this race.” In essence some people choose to runner faster within the confines of the rat race than get out of it.

No I don’t have all the answers. And no the stuff I recommend is definitely not the be all and end all of great money and business strategies. All I’m saying is THERE IS SO MUCH STUFF OUT THERE!

I recommended a video a while ago which I think is appropriate to revisit here – In this video Ken Robinson talks about how schools, in essence, create factory workers. I choose to call this: conditioning rats that will run the race obediently – all their lives. C’mon – Really? You want that? I hope you’ll watch the video.

I’m amassing books at rate I’ve never done before for two reasons: 1. The more I gain the more I realise I have much more to learn and 2. I acknowledge how way behind I am and realise that every moment I don’t learn more is yet another opportunity lost.

Do we follow in the exact footsteps of the greats who have gone before us? Oh goodness No! We each create our own path. We are so unique that no set of rules will be completely effective if we follow precise instructions. The goal is to exercise the mind to think in ways many of us were not taught to think.

One of my clients told me the other day he wants so badly to study but feels he’s too old. I feel as long as there is breath in you and a lucid mind you owe it to yourself to grab every opportunity to learn.

It’s been said the desire to write comes with writing. I believe the same rings true for reading.

I’m giving my first workshop for the year this week. I’m super excited because clients attending this program will be getting a much more improved version of me. And I have every reason to believe that after this program – they won’t quite be the same again. Superb information has a way of doing that.

Are you indispensable?

If you read nothing else this year I really hope you’ll read  Linchpin. My favourite part of the book is Seth’s exposure of The Resistance. It’s the part in all of us that suppresses our greatness and keeps us down. Linchpin gave me some powerful insight which has helped me overcome some crippling barriers to success. Nuff said – read it and tell me you didn’t love it. I’ll be amazed.

Delivering Happiness

This was such an incredible book.

It revived something very important in me that I’d forgotten – I am that important. And I deserve to work happy. I deserve to work with purpose. If every company functioned this way – well the world would just be awesome!