warwick merry

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    By now you know Robin Williams is dead. It is hard not to know as it has dominated all forms of media for the last couple of days.

    I don’t “do” celebrities. I have been fortunate enough to meet many of them and some I have the pleasure of calling my friends. But I don’t stalk them, idolise them, want to be them, care what they endorse or even get concerned about what happens to them. They are people. They have their lives and I have mine. To be honest, I have enough trouble trying to get my life right let alone worry about other peoples, let alone famous people I will never meet.

    This was different for me.

    His death kicked me in the guts, brought me to tears and broke something inside. It has taken me a few days to collect myself and I felt I needed to write something.

    I don’t know Robin, I never met him and most importantly, I have no idea about who he truly is. I am not sure anyone did. Any of his media interviews descended into farce and laughter. Even the serious ones end up off the track and distracted from the internal entity that was Robin.

    He was very public with his issues – from addiction to health and even finance, yet still we never knew him.

    Zelda, his daughter, mentions that while there are many photos of Robin she has the memories of time spent with him. She and her family were probably some of the very few who actually knew him.

    To me, he was the King of the Stage and I wanted to be like the persona I saw.

    Over the years he has given me many gifts that I can never repay and for which I am eternally grateful.

    He showed me it was OK to be me. In a time and location where I felt my humour and habits were “not normal” he showed me it was OK to be “out there”. It was OK to show off, laugh and be genuinely crazy. It was OK to not conform, to be different and to be loud and proud of that difference.

    He showed me it was OK to be hairy. His bath scene during Moscow on the Hudson was one of the first times I had seen a truly hirsute man on screen. In his stand up he would often refer to his body hair. Under this clean cut suit of mine is a man who looks more like Koko the gorilla than Robin does. While society seems to think “Hair is Bad”, I am now certain, “Hair is Me.”

    He showed me what I think is the ultimate in comedy. To riff off what is in front of you, to say what is on your mind without thinking, to make it up as you go, to take it to the end and then take it further – that it a talent that I prize highly. I like to think that in some of my moments I can almost reach it and it is magical when I do.

    He showed me there is a time to be serious. Some of his work is downright chilling. One Hour Photo and Insomnia prove that he is not just a comedian but he is a true actor.

    He showed me that things will not go your way, but you can still have fun. Whether in the guise of Patch Adams, Adrian Cronauer or simple as Robin Williams, fighting his own demons anything is laughable. Some of his stand up seemed like drowning his own tragedies in laughter.

    He showed me perspective. By shifting your view to the stance of another, you can open your mind to something new. His rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s Fire as Elmer Fudd is 90 seconds of pure magic.

    He showed me the power of laughter. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t laugh at Robin. Kids, adults and all in between, there was something magical about his approach to life and laughter.

    Most importantly, he showed me that even though I have to grow older, I don’t have to grow up. So I am not going to!

    Thank you Robin for the laughs but more importantly, thank you for truly guiding me into the person that I am today.

    My marketing blurb says it and I truly feel it, I am part Robin Williams.

    The King is dead. Long live the King. Your table is ready.


    Image: I stole it of Facebook

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    I spent two hours this morning chatting with a friend from my tribe. My tribe is National Speakers; the association of Experts who Speak. It was only supposed to be an hour but once I got started, I found it hard to stop!

    They understand my business like no one else does. They understand the ups, the downs, the problems, the opportunities and the excitement of running this kind of business.

    They GET me.

    While others will sort of get me (even Wifey doesn’t fully understand the business), no-one fully understands like other members of your tribe.

    What about you? Where is your tribe? Who fully understands what you are going through?

    Sometimes it is a professional association; it can also be a mastermind group or even a networking group of similar people. Whoever they are, find them, be part of them and give to them. By giving to them will you receive something no one else can give.

    A sense of understanding and a sense of belonging.

    So where’s your tribe?

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  • Will and Jada at SAG Awards

    I am not a fan of subtle – anyone who has met me could probably tell you that.

    When I first got together with Wifey we created the ground rule the when communicating we wouldn’t hint, suggest, imply, insinuate, infer or be subtle in any way and NEVER go down the path of “If you really loved me you would ……”

    The understanding is that if you want something ask for it. If you want to do something, tell the other one, put it in the diary or organise it and tell the other one to come along. This works really well for us.

    The same rules apply in dealing with your customer – internal and external.

    Let them know what you need from them. Let them know what they can expect from you. Be crystal clear about it. The best relationships are when you are completely open with them and NEVER assume you know what they are thinking.

    Subtle does not work. Go for clarity every time.

    Image Credit: Gabriel Bouys


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  • Meet Hetty Kate.

    Hetty was just leaving the choir I sing with as I joined it in 2007. She had worked for many years on her musical skills and was incredibly good. She had spent a couple of years with the choir to gain the experience of performing within a group and expanding her musical experience.

    She would always talk about her dream of being a Jazz singer, singing with well known and regarded jazz musicians and going on tours singing.

    Last week when Wifey and I were in Hobart, it was fabulous to see this article in the paper. Its references to how she has performed on four continents, released six albums and sung with James Morrison and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra shows that her dream is now her reality.

    I’ve seen the same kind of thing with my clients.

    But it MUST start with a dream. Something that inspires you and keeps you going when things get rough (as they will).

    So what’s your dream? What are you aiming for?

    PS Disney did a great song about this on their Tangled film. You can see some of here

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  • why

    During a recent mastermind group “love in” we had a conversation about Work Life Balance. Not long after I was talking with a colleague about semi-retirement and retirement. The sum of these conversations led me to the conclusion that many people have no idea what they are doing!

    Employees work hard because they want to add to their super so they can enjoy life in their retirement. Small business owners try to be bigger business owners to bring in money so they can enjoy more time with their family. People work many hours to provide for those they love who end up not recognising them because they are not around.

    Too often retirees have lost their identity because their job was who they became, business owners can’t get out of the empire they build because “no-one can do it like they can” and both types lose what health they have due to the stress and demands of their choices.

    What’s it for?

    Why do you work so hard? Why do you do what you do? Why wait to have that experience? If you own the business, why don’t you have an afternoon off to spend with those you love – you won’t sack yourself!

    Too often as people make a living, they forget to live. Never forget what you are doing this for and can you do some of it today?

    PS Sorry I missed last weeks blog post, I was spending the day with Wifey before she went on a weeklong girls holiday to Fiji.


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  • Are you scared to get things wrong?

    In the past, I have been so scared to get things wrong or make the wrong decision, that I have done nothing just so I wouldn’t be wrong.

    I am happy to be on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people and stuff up. I have even completely stuffed up a song in my choir during a performance and been ok with it, but one on one I hate getting things wrong or doing the wrong thing.

    As part of my continual professional development, I am doing some Improv training. The first thing they teach you is to celebrate your mistakes. There is no “wrong” and part of what slows you down is looking for the RIGHT thing. Our standard approach is that if you get stuck, stuff something up or just don’t know what to do, you wave your hands in the air and shout, “Again, again, again.”

    How great would that be in real life? Imagine if during a negotiation, part way through a deep and meaningful conversation with a loved one or simply talking with a client, whenever what you said came out wrong or you weren’t how the next bit should go or they reacted unexpectedly to what you were saying you could just say, “Again, Again, Again.”

    Next time you are scared to get things wrong, always remember you can say to yourself “Again, again, again.”


    PS Want to see me get it wrong on stage?

    My choir Mood Swing is performing this Sunday in North Melbourne at 2pm.
    Two hours of family friendly entertainment for only $20 and kids are free.
    With over 20 songs there will be plenty of opportunity for me to get words, dancing, commentaries and so much more WRONG!

    To book your tickets or find out more, simply click here.

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  • What an amazing week in Abu Dhabi. So many amazing experiences and a great view from the lunch restaurant!

    Grand Mosque

    One of the things that I found fabulous was the level of service.

    No, I was not staying at a 6, 7 or 8 star hotel, but it seemed no matter where you went the service was great.

    What was the key thing that made the service so great? The assistants, waiters, hoteliers, AV crew, hosts were all smiling and happy.

    You genuinely felt that they wanted you to have a good time and an enjoyable experience.

    It proved to me that great customer service is a choice. You get to choose your attitude and the energy it takes to give a little extra is minimal.

    So how is your service? Do you give good internal customer service as well as external customer service?

    It’s a choice!
    As a little bonus, I shot a quick video (less than a minute!) when I was in Abu Dhabi on some of the service. Enjoy!

    PS This concept of using a name was confirmed during my flight home. I noticed that the flight attendants name was Leanne (she was wearing a name tag).

    So when she asked did I want chicken or fish, I replied “Can I have the chicken thank Leanne”.

    She paused and said, “Thank you so much for using my name. I really appreciate it and wish more people would”. She then took great care of me on the way home and said thank you again as I left the plane.

    Names are important. Use them as often as you can.

    Warwick In Action

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