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Transcript: Being Stronger Than My Excuses (EP35)


Intro (with music): Welcome to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk all things, culture, leadership and teamwork across business and sport.


Brendan Rogers: Hello, everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of The Culture of Things podcast. And this is Episode 35.

Today, I'm talking with Julie Watson. Julie is the General Manager and Founder of ‘Stronger Than My Excuses’.

She's a successful Central Coast business woman for over 30 years and author of two eBooks. Julie now helps people to find their own inspiration through the ‘Stronger Than My Excuses’ presentations and Web TV panel discussions.

After overcoming her own health and financial adversities and being able to work from anywhere in the world, Julie is well-positioned to offer solutions based on real-life experiences.

As Julie says, “It's easy to be motivated while someone is giving us these pep talks, but the moment we walk out the door, the motivation begins to fade.” Julie will give you tools to help you physically move, to take action, and to simply get started. No excuses.

The focus of our conversation today is ‘Being Stronger Than My Excuses’.

Julie, welcome to The Culture of Things podcast.

Julie Watson: Thank you, Brendan. I'm really looking forward to this discussion.

Brendan Rogers: Julie, and it's great to have you here. We need to let people know that you're our first guest that has put some hairspray in (laughing) before the episode and we're not on camera.

Julie Watson: Well, I'm hoping to get a few snippets on my camera. (Laughing)

Brendan Rogers: It's fantastic. Look, it's really great to have you here today. How about you tell us a little bit about ‘Stronger Than My Excuses’ and your backstory to how you got to this point today?

Julie Watson: Okay. Well, I mean, there are no excuses, right? So I want to look good even when I'm on a podcast. (Laughing) Hence, the hairspray. But look, who wouldn't want to be stronger than their excuses? It's, everyone's got a story to tell, but unfortunately, a lot of us have a lot of excuses within that story. So, what we want to do is push through those excuses and stop the status quo and move forward in our lives, in our business, and wherever it may be. So, I'm just going to talk a bit about my story and it's not really to inspire, but it's just to make people realise we're all the same. We've all got a story to tell.

So, mine sorta started, let's say, eight years ago, I was scrolling through my computer, looking for some motivation. I was a bit down and out. I'd lost a really good job. And my financial situation was in tatters basically. My relationship was on the rocks, too. So, I was scrolling through the computer, looking for something motivational. I finally found an article called “Overcoming Adversity: So You Think You've Got it Bad?” I started actually reading that. I was probably about three lines in before I even realised it was my own article, which was quite crazy because I'd written it so many years before. I wrote that article because I had a story to tell about my background, and I wanted to get that out there, but I never did anything with it years before. I didn't have the confidence. That article went on to talk about my diagnosis of chronic renal failure. I was 26 and at the time, I just said, “Okay, what do I need to do here?” And I ended up having to have five years on a dialysis machine.

I gave myself over 2,000 intravenous needles. I had over 34 admissions to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. I had surgeries, seizures, biopsies, chest cam, gut cam, butt cam - all those lovely things that happen to you that you wouldn't realise go along with kidney failure, but they do. Chronic renal failure means that you've got that for life. So I still have that, but the only options for treatment are dialysis and transplant.

So, in the end, I remember, oh, I'll tell you a couple of stories. One time, I was sitting on that machine and this could get a bit gooey. I was sitting on the machine and my son had just come home from school. And then, I realised that I was sitting in a pool of blood. One of the connections hadn't been quite connected properly, and it had been leaking the whole time. And because your blood is the same temperature as your body, you don't really even feel it.

So, here was my son. He was eight or nine at the time going, “What can I do, Mum? What can I do?” So he was running around getting me fresh clothes, a new sheet to put onto the chair. And I had to clamp all the machine off and redo the line, all the lines, and quickly wash up and get changed, and then, connect the lines again, of course, before my blood starts to clot in this machine. You know, that was just one drama out of plenty that went on.

Another time, I went to the Hilton for, I was working at the time and I was on a work conference and went to bed, and had a massive seizure in the middle of the night and had to be taken, so here, I was being taken out through the Hilton by ambulance from my lovely work conference.

They're the sorts of things that were happening to me back then. And it almost feels like I'm talking about someone else because I feel so healthy and vibrant and alive now. What I did throughout that time that I was on that dialysis machine is I ran a small business. I was a surf lifesaver. I was a soccer mom; I was the Manager of the team. I was also on the committee of both the surf club and the soccer club. I wanted to contribute to my community. And I wanted to mainly be a role model for my son. So I stayed really positive. I was always positive throughout that. Because I wasn't afraid of speaking in front of people or being the life-of-the-party type person, people took that for confident. But really, it was just positivity. And I recognise that now, the difference between being positive and confident. But back then, my son took that as, “My Mum's really confident. She can do anything,” which put him in good stead later on in life.

I ended up getting a, I got one transplant that didn't work, which was devastating, as you can imagine. They put it in and then they had to take it back out. It was awful. Then, I got my Dad's kidney and I've had that now for almost 25 years. Really healthy. Last time I went to my specialist, he said, “Your results are actually the best they've ever been.” So, all going well, touching wood right now. (Laughing) That's when I realised that it's not just positivity. It's confidence that you need. Positivity was getting me through this adversity, but confidence was what I needed to get my goals. And I had none of that. I still had that imposter syndrome, all these sorts of things going on in my own head. Now, I'm actually the best I've ever been. I feel fantastic. I quit my perfectly good job a few years ago, started my own business. I feel healthy. I bought a unit. I bought a new car. I'm in a great relationship. I'm living near the beach. I took my business and worked overseas in Croatia for three months a couple of years ago because I can. I set myself up to work anywhere in the world. Now, I can work also from my parent's place when I'm supporting Dad, who's looking after Mum. I can work from my boyfriend's place if I want to stay over there for a while. Life is really good. I'm feeling good.

Brendan Rogers: Julie, that's such a great story. And so many great moments in there and some pretty unbelievable moments as well as you shared. But I can see the energy in your eyes and just the energy you exude whenever we interact. So fantastic. Well done. Your Dad and Mum must be very, very proud. And your Dad must be honoured that he's been able to give you this second chance so to speak.

Julie Watson: Absolutely, yes. And you can't repay your parents for that. For a while, I was like, “Oh, what can I give Dad for Christmas? Has to be something really good. He's just given me his kidney.” Doesn't work that way. Now, I just still give him a bottle of wine, a t-shirt, something. (Laughing)

Brendan Rogers: I just want to go back to just the stronger than my excuses phrase. How did this happen? Where did this come about?

Julie Watson: When I started realising that there was a difference between being positive and being confident, and I started working remotely, it's really hard to actually pinpoint it. I think, when I realised my relationship wasn't working, and that no one else was coming to say, “You need to get out,” no one else really knew what was happening. And I thought to myself, “I’m driving myself nuts. If I don't make a decision here, no one else is going to.” And it was the hardest decision I ever had to make was to say, “I need to get out of this relationship.” I won't go into why or any of that. But when I made that decision, I felt completely empowered. And I thought, “That was the first step to being stronger than all the excuses about staying. Where would I go? How would I do this? Where would I live? How will I support myself financially on my own?” You know, “How do we split up this mortgage, the house?” All those things were in my mind, but I just had to do it for my own sanity.

Then, I just made that decision. And I thought, “This is what it is. It's just making decisions.” I remember watching a show called “The Secret”. A lot of people have heard of that. And I watched that in the end over a hundred times. And it wasn't because I thought it was the secret. I knew it wasn't the secret to everything, but every time I watched it, I got something different out of it because every day of my life was changing. So, I would have a different perception the next time I watched it.

Because of something that had happened in my life, the next day, I'd watch it. Maybe, I'd been to a networking event, talked to someone, something in my mind had changed. I'd watch it again and go, “Oh, now I understand that bit.” And it really got me to start watching more and more different motivational things. I started to have a morning routine, which involved, really looking after myself, visualisation, which I never liked because I didn't understand the science behind it. And now, I do. So now, I do a little bit of visualisation, a little bit of mindfulness. I set up my day and I make sure that I'm looking after myself and what I really started to do through all of this was back myself. And I learnt the difference between positive and confidence. I always thought you're either a confident person or you weren't. I see people walk into networking events or meetings, confident, putting their hand up in a meeting and speaking and saying what they think.

And I would sit there and think, “I wouldn't want to say anything ‘cause I might be wrong or people might, what would they think?” Now, I realise that my opinion is as valid as anyone else's. It may not always be right, but I've got the chance and I should have that opportunity to have that opinion. So, I started backing myself. I realised that this is where life really happens when you start to take a risk. In other words, I got in the arena. Before, I was sitting around the outside of the arena, watching. I was positive. I had lots of friends. All my family liked me. All my friends liked me. That's what I thought I needed was people to like me and to have everyone like me. I hated it when someone didn't like me or the thought of anyone talking about me behind. Now, that does not matter to me anymore because that's always going to happen.

People are always going to say, “Oh, did you see what earring she had? Her earrings didn't match her shoe,” you know. Really, does that matter anymore? No. Or if they don't like what I've said, there's 10 other people that did. And we have to stop worrying about that. And that's when I started getting positive. So I started raising my hand. I started asking people for help, asking people to invest in me. I was backing myself. “Will you back me too?” And I really, really backed myself. And of course, I had my share of setbacks. We all do. I just went, “I've learnt from that. I'm moving on.” And I got back up and I started again. The difference between positive and confidence is huge. So, positive got me through that adversity, and it helped me stay in a good frame of mind, but it didn't achieve any of my goals. None of them.

Of course, you want to be positive anyway when you're dealing with people. But it was the confidence in myself to back myself that started achieving my goals. And focusing on gratitude stopped me from thinking that my goals are always way out there. They're actually, goals are something that we need to have, but life is what's happening to us right now. So, now that I'm grateful for what I've got right now, no matter what that is, running hot water over my body every morning when I have a shower, how lucky am I to have that? Having my parents both still alive. How lucky am I? All those things that I'm grateful for just ground me, make me realise life is awesome. Right now, a football team might, they don't just go, “Oh, we've won that Grand Final. We've achieved our goal.” That's it.

They want to win the next one. But they're focusing on one thing at a time. Playing a good game that day, then the next week, then the next week. They're not always focusing on, “Well, we want to win 10 Grand Finals.” So, if I've got goals that are quite big and they're way out in the future, I no longer see them as so far away. I just go, “That is my goal. I want a bigger house or more holidays, or I want a better car,” whatever it might be. Focusing on the now makes me enjoy my life. And that's so important.

Brendan Rogers: Just those terms, confident versus positive. Is there one that you think is more important for success and overcoming your excuses than the other? You know, “I need to be more confident than positive,” or “I certainly knew”, or “I need to be more positive than confident”.

Julie Watson: Good question. I actually, I think you need a bit of both. But to be honest, I think the inner confidence is everything, is way more powerful because you are the only one in your own head. And it doesn't matter what anyone else says. If you can wake up in the morning and go, “I'm backing myself today. What am I doing today?” Sometimes, I used to feel, “Am I greedy because I want money?” That used to knock me around some, hugely. I struggled with that for a long time, making money from my business or from helping people. And in fact, I was always really good at raising funds for the kidney foundation, raising funds for child abuse prevention service. I was on their Board. I was on their fundraising committee, raising funds for the soccer club, putting on events, surf club. I could do that really well.

And as soon as it came to raising funds for me to pay my bills, because all this time I was raising funds for other people, I was broke. So, I started to realise that I need to be confident, that I still need to raise funds for myself. And I can do that while I'm supporting people. I can be confident in what I know. And if I fall down because I've done something wrong, then I've learned from that, I get back up. I don't do that again. I do something different. So, I think, to me, “It is that confidence that is much more important.” It's nice to be positive and people see you as nice, but for your own benefit, I think confidence is more important.

Brendan Rogers: Sitting across from you, it's really easy to see the energy, the glow, the passion that you have for this. Where does that come from? Why is this journey so important?

Julie Watson: I think I grew up with a bit of that. My father was involved in mental health all of his working life. In fact, he has the Order of Australia Medal for his services to mental health. And he's 85. And he's just been asked to do a presentation. In fact, he's doing that today on a webinar. (Laughing) And he was practicing his speech and most of his speech involved how we need to do more for mental health, how there's not enough being done. Why is it that you walk into a hospital and it's got unbelievable amounts of machinery for people with heart issues or for chest problems and all these other things and mental health just gets left behind? And yet, it's becoming so much more prevalent. He feels like it's just left behind. So our dinner conversations all through growing up were always about that there was plenty of people worse off than us, and that we had to understand that there's always people who can't always help themselves.

And so, I think he always had such a positive attitude that he could make changes. And that just brushed off on me. I think that you can, through being positive and backing yourself, make changes. I think I probably turned that into more positive than confidence. Back then as a child, I was self-conscious ’cause I was very skinny. And I got called names, of course. Stick, match. ‘Cause we had matches back then. (Laughing) There's not many of those anymore. All sorts of names. And so, I was very self-conscious of my body. And even speaking up, if I spoke up, I felt, “Oh no. I've said the wrong thing.” So I think it just came from my family and I did talk a lot. And I guess people like it when you're a bit chatty because it comes across as you're friendly. So that helped me stay positive or become positive.

Brendan Rogers: Let's go on to this bit about what you term, “live your life”. So, we're talking about living your life and having a great life. Now, what does that mean for you? How do you help other people and other leaders in what they're doing, setting their goals and really helping them achieve what they want to achieve?

Julie Watson: Okay. So part of that is that what I talked about, about the gratitude for now. When we're looking too far ahead or not making decisions, we can become very anxious. The minute you make a decision, that anxiety drops away, the anxiety comes with indecisiveness. So, we need to be realistic about what we can do. Anything in your life that's holding you back from achieving your goal. Then, maybe, you have to put your goal a little further in the future. For instance, if you're caring for an elderly parent or a child that you just can't spend 16 hours a day on a business, you've got to do other things. So you need to set realistic goals. The fact is that our brains actually can't conceive goals.

For instance, if you think, “Oh, I really want to dance with that person on the dance floor. The first thing your brain does is, “Oh, hang on.” Because you start getting nervous about it, your brain is saying to you, “Hang on. We don't do that. What if you fall over? What if you look stupid? What if they say no? How embarrassing.” Within five seconds, you've talked yourself out of it. The brain doesn't understand. It's not using the executive part of the brain saying, “But that could be the love of your life. You could get married to that person and live a happy life forever, happily ever after.”

The brain does not understand that it's there to protect you. For instance, when you walk up to a street corner, automatically, you stop and look before you cross the road because your brain says, “Don't just walk out there. You might get run over.” Your brain constantly has these habit loops that are protecting you. So, any time you get a bit nervous about something, it will come in and say, “Are you sure you should be doing this? Don't do it. This could be scary.” If you're sitting on the lounge at home and you think, “Oh, I should really go for a run.” Instantly, your brain says, “Whoa, hang on. Isn't it a bit cold out there?” Giving you excuses. But really, it's just trying to protect you. It's saying, “You don't need it. Why would you need it?” It doesn't understand that you want to put your bikini on and be on the beach this summer, “But you can't do it if you're too flabby.” So it doesn't understand that. Or you want to run in a marathon, you want to achieve that goal. It doesn't understand goals. The brain can't actually conceive them.

So, think of jumping out of a plane. I mean, your brain is trying to stop you with every inch of your body. That's that fear because it doesn't understand that the exhilaration you're going to get from it. “You've got a parachute. It will save you. You're not going to die.” So you jump out of the plane eventually and you get the reward of that exhilaration. That's the reason our brain works the way it does and why we make excuses. That limbic part of the brain or the basal ganglia, all of our habit loops are there, and we need to stop and bring it around to the prefrontal cortex. So that's where we make decisions and where we use our executive brain.

Brendan Rogers: I'm going to link this back to the word ‘confidence’, because to me, that sounds like there needs to be a level of confidence to push yourself forward in making some of those decisions. “I'm going to do this. I'm going to take that.” There's some, that inner confidence you spoke about. Looking at yourself and internalising that, how did you move forward from that positive person to now be the positive but also the confident so that you overcome these inner thoughts, these negative thoughts, these limiting beliefs that we all have every day, multiple times a day?

Julie Watson: Part of it was constantly watching these motivational videos. So, part of my morning routine, I mentioned thinking of some things I'm grateful for visualisation, a little bit of mindfulness. And I have this on a list that I tick off because I'm a little bit A.D.D. I need everything sorted out. I tick it off every morning. But one of them is motivation. So yesterday, I just watched a quick video that just went for three minutes and it just, yes, that's got me motivated. That's all I need because I haven't got all day. I can't spend four hours on a morning routine. So I do that. And I realised that it's not always the big decisions that make us move ahead. It's everyday decisions. It's just getting up off the lounge to go for that walk. It's making those sales calls.

Sometimes, it's easier to make a decision. “I'm going to start a business.” That's a big decision. “I'm going to buy a house.” Big decision. And you think about why people break up sometimes in relationships. It's not usually because they bought a house and it's the wrong one. It's not usually because someone started. It's usually because, “You don't pick your clothes up off the floor.” “You're too lazy.” “You never helped me.” It's those tiny things that happen all day long, that they're making decisions about that are affecting their life. We have to make decisions. No one else is coming to help us. We have to make our own decisions, big and small. And those small decisions make a huge difference.

So, what I do is, whenever I've got a goal, and it could be that I need to make a certain amount of sales calls or whatever that might be, or it might be even just not eating that chocolate cake, whatever it is, if it's the sales calls and I know what I want to achieve from that, I think to myself, “If I can get a certain amount of sales, I can have an employee sitting beside me. I can have enough to employ someone else to sit beside me and support my business. And then, I might even see myself high-fiving my boyfriend when I get the certain amount of sales I need.” So, I have an anchor thought in my head, high-fiving my boyfriend going, “Guess what? I got, whatever amount of sales I need.” Big high five or a champagne glass with someone. You need an anchor thought for your goal. Small, big doesn't matter. So the first step is when you hear yourself saying, “I should make those sales calls”, as soon as you “should” on yourself, never should on yourself, that's bad. (Laughing) As soon as you should do something, straight away, say to yourself, “I can do this.” It's just four little words, but the way you say it is by imagining yourself, writing it with your wrong hand. So if you're right-handed, you just imagine yourself writing, “I CAN DO IT”. And with your left hand, with the wrong hand, it's really hard.

Now, all of a sudden, you can't be thinking about that old habit loop that's saying, “You should get up.” “Oh, no.” But what if they say “no” when you ring them? What if they, you know, ‘cause you're trying to ring someone that's maybe high-profile and you're a bit scared, you can't be thinking about any of that old worry and stay comfortable because you're thinking about writing left-handed. Straight away, that switches your brain from the old habit loop, basal ganglia to the prefrontal cortex. You're using your executive functioning brain. Decision-making. So, the second thing you do is that you think of your anchor thoughts straight away. So, now that I've done the “I CAN DO THIS”, which is a positive statement in itself, you go, “Oh, I can see myself there high-fiving my boyfriend because I've made the calls and I got the sale, the sales that I needed.”

And then, the last thing is stand up or touch your toes or raise your arms in the air. Do something physical. Because when you move your body, your physiological state changes automatically. Even if we just stood up now and sat back down, our heart rate would be a tiny bit changed and we'd feel a little bit more. They do it in seminars all the time. “Everybody, stand up. Have a stretch. Sit down.” You feel more alive. So really, it's just the four words - I CAN DO THIS. Writing it with your wrong hand, thinking of your anchor thought and then move. Now, all of a sudden, you've moved. And so, you think, “I may as well make those calls”. “Now, I've stood up. I may as well pick up the phone.” It might even be just, if you want to go for a walk, and you think oh, I don’t know, “Hang on. I CAN DO THIS.”

Seeing yourself at the end of your marathon, and then stand up. Once you've stood up, “Okay, I've stood up now. I might as well walk to the front door and go out the door and have my walk or run,” or whatever it might be. So that moving is essential. And that is the little trick that I've been using for years that just gets me going. Even just hitting the snooze button, “Hang on. I can do this.” And even if I just say, “I can do this”, I'm tempted to hit the snooze button again. I close my eyes and I imagined doing it left-handed and it completely stops me thinking of excuses. You have to get that part of your brain thinking of, “Okay. I'm not thinking. Get up, stand.” And once you're up, you're up and at ‘em. It's just amazing.

Brendan Rogers: What I find quite amazing is earlier in the interview, you mentioned how visualisation wasn't something that you really fancied at all. Now, it seems to be such a fundamental element in everything you've just spoken about and overcoming your excuses.

Julie Watson: Absolutely. So, same thing with visualisation, your mind or your brain cannot tell the difference between what's real and what's not if it's put in there often enough. So it's like, if you walk along a path every day, that's easy. If you turn off that bushwalking track and say, and you try to go through the bushes, it's hard. It's really hard. You’re fighting through brick and branches, you know, all the branches, but after you do that, 10 times, 20 times, 30 times, you've made a new little path. And before you know it, the old path is overgrown and the new path is the norm. And that's exactly the same with forming a habit. When you are trying to form a new habit, if you, in your mind, picture yourself, you know, Olympic athletes have been wired up and tested and they imagine themselves running the race and the same, exactly the same muscles and neurons are fired up as when they actually run the race.

What we do is by visualisation, it is an actual proven fact that when you visualise that, what you want over and over and over in your mind, you see yourself on the stage, you see yourself high-fiving your boy, whatever it might be, you see yourself running the race. Often enough, you will actually, your brain doesn't start to go into that old habit loop anymore. It actually starts to believe that you've done it. So when you actually go and do it, it's easier. It's much easier. You're not trying to talk yourself out of it all the time. So it is quite incredible. And what I did was I set up that morning routine. I just started. I use my mind trick, but also leaned in anyone I was talking to. I talked about things so that I could get more information. I turned that positive into confidence by doing all those little mind tricks, watching things every day, having a routine. And don't get me wrong, some mornings, you get up and don't do it, but I don't just go, “Oh, I haven't done it for two or three days. It's all over.” I just go, “Get it back out. Start again. Keep going.” I never stop. That's the thing. Starting is really hard. Use my trick to start. Continuing is just a matter of saying, “Okay. I had a bad day.” “Oh, the kids got in the way this morning.” “I was going to start that new routine.” The next day, start it, or the next day, no excuses anymore. It's all about no excuses.

Brendan Rogers: And we can all read lots of things around habit-forming and those sorts of things, you know, getting over, not wanting to do things. You hear 30 days or 21 days and all this. In your own experience, how often is often enough where this becomes just part of who you are and what you do?

Julie Watson: Okay. So I don't really have a scientific opinion on that. And there are so many scientific opinions that vary that in my opinion, it is just constantly turning up, never stopping. So for me, it did happen. It probably took more than a year. And even now, of course, I still have self-doubts. I still question some of the things I do, but I can get over it so much easier. I just go, “Oh, I really need to watch a motivational video again - Tony Robbins or anyone, or even The Secret.” Put that back on anything. But when I first started in business, I thought I had to, I listened to every seminar. I read every book and then, I would go back and go, “Right. Now, they said, I need to do this. They said I need to listen to affirmations for 30 days, do affirmations for 30 days.” “I need to have a goals board.” So I'd make a goals board. I'd spend a day or two doing that. In the end, what was I doing? Nothing productive. I was doing everything all these people were teaching me and I was a seminar junkie. It was ridiculous. Calendar preparations, visualisation, all these things that I didn't really understand, but I was just doing them. In the end, I was completely overwhelmed by that. And for 20 years, I did that. I just went on to, “Oh, this is what I’m supposed to do now.” I've been to another seminar, “Now, this is what I'm supposed to do.” Now, because nothing was happening for me, I thought, “Okay. I've got to stop this seriously. No one's coming to actually wake me up in the morning. No one's coming to achieve my goals and actually do the actions that are going to be productive for me to get this business started, whatever it might've been.”

So I set my own morning routine now. I've based that on a few other things I've learnt, but I do not change it. I still listen to all these positive things. I listen to your podcasts all the time. I hear different people telling me different things that can help my business from a mindset or that sort of point of view. But I don't race back now and go, “Oh, I've got to change it to that.” Sometimes, I sneak something in that might I go or that, “That's easy.” I can think of three things every morning that I'm grateful for. I might add that in. It takes me 10 seconds. I write down Mum and Dad, my boyfriend and my hot shower, you know, that sort of easy. And it just brings me back down. So all those things, but I still read motivational books. All the time, I visualise. But now, I take it all in like a sponge. If they don't take too long, I put them into my morning routine. And then, I just get on with my day. My day has to be filled with productive tasks that are going to propel my business forward and keep me feeling good about myself.

Brendan Rogers: Tomorrow morning, actually, no, not tomorrow morning ‘cause that's an excuse. After this interview, I'm going to sit down and I'm going to say, “I need to be stronger than my excuses”. What would be that one thing, that piece of advice you would give me to help me become stronger than my excuses?

Julie Watson: Well, Brendan, I think you should have your own series of web TV shows that are panel discussions. And that would be the Stronger Than My Excuses Show, but no, really, if you can think of one thing today that is going to propel your business forward and then write that down, and don't stop until you've achieved it. Then, do the same thing tomorrow. I think that's so important to it is, “That is part of my morning routine. What am I doing today that is productive?” Because I could be updating my website and doing all sorts of things. But, “Have I made a sales call?” Because if you don't have sales, you don't have a business. (Laughing) It's the same for everybody. What are you doing today that is going to move it forward? Not just make a few things better. So I think that's really important.

Brendan Rogers: Julie, what's the impact that you want to have on the world with everything around that you're doing with ‘Stronger Than My Excuses’, the web TV series and the presentations you're giving? I know you're popping up to a big business after this to give a presentation. Tell us what that looks like for you.

Julie Watson: Basically, I want to help people find their own inspiration. I found mine. I don't think it's necessarily out there, but we do need the support, like I said, I watch a lot of things that motivate me, but to actually be inspired to do something, that's why I started the web TV panel discussions because originally, it was to build my profile. I wanted to be a speaker and I wanted to tell my story and I wanted to help people overcome with some of the information I've talked about today. Then, I realised everyone wanted to be on the show. Everyone wanted to be on my panel discussion. I had the Mayor, I had the Regional Director of the business New South Wales, and I had the CEO of the Newcastle Jets. They were all wanting to come on the show and I realised everyone needs to build their profile. And everyone needs to tell their story.

Now, I enable people to basically produce a professional, streamlined panel discussion series of shows on their passion, on their business, on their community organisation, whatever it might be, as long as it's moving towards an action, which most businesses have something to do with that. Whether it's a gymnasium that wants to promote themselves, they can do talks about all sorts of things related to physical fitness. They could have a dietician on their show. That's the sort of thing they can really, without even self-promotion, be giving good information to people and building their own profile and the profile of the guests on their show all while supporting the public to listen to this and be able to take actions from it, no excuses. So, that's why they're all called the ‘Stronger Than My Excuses’ Show.

But depending on who's running it, then they've got their main theme behind it. And each episode, will hit a different topic. So it allows people to really get their talks out there in a format that is a discussion. And people love that, especially when it's face-to-face. I know we're doing a lot of Zoom lately, but people still prefer to watch people sitting around a panel rather than on a Zoom. But we do it a mixture of both if we need to. So we always have a panel of between three and five people. It's always 15 to 20 minutes and they're just a great format for people to be showing how they're stronger than their excuses. I love what it offers people - telling their stories. I have someone doing an interior design show. I have someone doing a marketing show, someone doing a business is thriving, not just surviving. And we've also done shows on suicide prevention, anti-bullying, and all sorts of community issues, even domestic violence.

And that was huge, it got shared quite a lot. So what our production kit offers is it just has everything broken down into bite-sized chunks, a complete checklist templates of scripts and emails so that people don't have to think too much. It tells them how to find a videographer, what they should be looking for, how to find guests, how to find sponsors to cover all of their costs. It opens it up for anyone to be able to have their own web TV show. Sounds like a biggie, but it's actually really exciting. And when people go for it, they find themselves completely exhilarated. So it works in so many ways to support people, to become more confident and to just get their message out there and be heard.

Brendan Rogers: Just to give another plug, the other little exciting thing is that you’re wanting to expand that across in the podcast side of things as well. And I'm really honoured that you've asked me to help and support you along with that. So you're already offering enormous value in that package. I know in the various levels you have, but adding the podcast side of things to things will just add another level of value. So the impact you're having is fantastic. Well done there. People listening to this and where they just want to say, “Hey Julie, this was awesome conversation. Thanks so much for some of these tips,” or they want their own web TV series ‘Stronger Than My Excuses’, how do they get in touch with you?

Julie Watson: Okay. So they could come onto the website, which is www.strongerthanmyexcuses.com.au. There is a contact page on there and there's also a phone number on there. They can also come to the Facebook page, which is Stronger Than My Excuses. Basically, they're the two main ways to get in touch. And it's pretty easy. We'll get back to you within 24 hours, usually straightaway.

Brendan Rogers: Julie, I wanted to say thank you very much for coming on. You are an inspiration to women, but not only to women, to everyone. I mean, for me, you're an inspiration, as I've learned more about your story, like you said, I think off air, that everyone has a story. Everyone has a unique journey and yours has some, maybe more challenges than most through your health issues. That just has obviously driven you. And like I said, in the interview, the passion, the energy, the excitement you have, and obviously, the deep connection to the impact you're trying to make in the world is absolutely fantastic. And I agree with you, people want a platform and there's nothing easier than using someone like you who's created a platform for people to get their message out. So people should jump on board that. It's a great opportunity to really get their message out and for you to help them achieve that. So, well done on what you're doing and a massive thank you for being a guest on The Culture of Things podcast.

Julie Watson: Thank you for having me. And yes, I am driven. I find that when I get motivated in the mornings with my routine, when I have my shower, I do find myself almost high-fiving myself going, “Yes, you've got this. Stronger than your excuses.”

(Music plays)

Brendan Rogers: Julie is a strong, inspirational woman. Her personal story of chronic renal failure is testament to her strength. Her ability to take it in her stride, overcome the challenges and flourish on the other side is inspirational. Julie is also one of the most authentic people you will ever meet. What you see is what you get. She definitely practices what she preaches and is much stronger than her excuses.

These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with Julie.

My first key takeaway. Being positive is good. Having confidence is better. Understanding the difference between being positive and being confident is important for a success mindset. Julie summed it up perfectly when she said, “Positivity gets you through adversity; confidence helps you achieve your goals.” Have the confidence to take a risk and be stronger than your excuses.

My second key takeaway. Your mind is your most powerful tool. It can be a powerful asset or a powerful liability. If you use your mind to overcome your limiting beliefs, it is an asset. If you use your mind to give into your limiting beliefs, it is a liability. Learn to use your mind as an asset, and it will be a powerful tool guiding your success.

My third key takeaway. Good leaders form good habits. Whether that be a morning, day or night routine, as Julie said, it is about showing up consistently and never stopping. I remember reading the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod who coined the six practices of the miracle morning with the acronym, SAVERS. S is silence. A is affirmations. V is visualisation. E is exercise. R is reading. And S is scribing. Unfortunately, I can't say I've been perfect at doing all six every day, but like Julie, I can say that several have been part of my day for many years, and I know firsthand how forming good habits makes a difference to your personal and business success.

So in summary, my three key takeaways were: being positive is good, having confidence is better; your mind is your most powerful tool; and good leaders form good habits.

If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a message at brendan@brendanrogers.com.au.

Thank you for listening. Stay safe until next time.


Outtro (music): Thank you for listening to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit brendanrogers.com.au to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.