Category Archives: The Desired Life

Signs you are a great leader

A nice post of the signs of good leadership. Something all school principals should aspire to.

Link here

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8 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast 

I’ve been quite inspired this article – you should read it!

8 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast 



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Making lists

Making: a habit of reading one book every fortnight this year. Tracking ok with 9 down but I’m a little behind
Cooking: baby eggplant stirfry
Drinking: water with lime and mint. Perfect calorie free drink for the end of a day.
Reading: Creative Schools by Ken Robinson
Wanting: to keep up riding my bike regularly.
Looking: forward to the end of term
Playing: random online games from my past
Deciding: if I should race my bike competitively again
Wishing: long weekends would last longer
Enjoying: a sunny winter day in Melbourne
Waiting: for my wife to finish studying so we can have more time together
Liking: having a tidy house
Wondering: if my workload will decrease in the near future
Loving: feeling ‘more on top of things’
Pondering: my future.
Considering: riding my bike later today
Watching: Outsourced – so sad it only got a single season
Hoping: life can slow down soon
Marvelling: at our dogs’ ability to sleep all day long
Needing: a little more sleep
Smelling: my peppermint tea
Wearing: a comfy dressing gown (seriously dudes, make the change to one)
Following: the Adelaide Crows (who had a nice win at the MCG yesterday)
Noticing: the difference in quality of print vs web journalism
Knowing: the peace of a long weekend will soon by shattered by work
Thinking: about the children of Islamic State – I hope someone is ensuring all children can access education
Admiring: leaders who work long hours and still be there for their families
Sorting: through some old clothing
Buying: a new pair of running shoes – so many good memories in the old ones
Getting: tired of the petty public vs private school debate
Bookmarking: some wonderful blog posts on the Tiny House movement
Disliking: the strong encouragement society provides to remain ‘mainstream’
Opening: up differing worship experiences
Giggling: at knowing Hugh Lawrie has recorded several blues albums – who knew?
Feeling: a wee bit tired from 5/6 camp last week
Snacking: on yoghurt
Coveting: more energy and time for exercise
Wishing: this sunny day would never end
Helping: teachers to become better at what they do
Hearing: Jose Gonzalez’s latest album 

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Supporting executive wellbeing and the third way

When I have a little more time (ironic!) I’ll post a reflection on Dr Adam Fraser’s book ‘The Third Space’. It is a wonderful look at how we can be more present in all of our roles.

For the moment, consider this idea below and a youtube summary of his work.


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Why don’t I make time for exercise?

The man or woman who hates his work scowls at the alarm clock, rolls out of bed with frustration, takes his time getting ready, mopes around the office, counts the minutes to 5pm, turns on the television when he gets home to distract himself, and then goes to bed late only to repeat the cycle tomorrow.

– Joshua Becker

There was a time not that long ago when I would bounce out of bed in the morning for a ride or a run. I might supplement morning exercise with an afternoon swim or ride too. It seems those days are long gone. I used to set goals to drive myself to exercise and what started as 10k fun runs and short triathlons became half marathons and half ironmans.

A great deal has happened since those days which are in reality only 5 years ago. There have been two changes of organisation and two changes of location. Changes of role have led to much less time and energy available for exercise. Often it is the latter which is the demotivator and perhaps this post should really be titled ‘Why don’t’ I make energy for exercise?’

I know exercise helps me be better at what I do. (and for those who don’t agree I urge you to read this)

I don’t believe I mope around school nor do I count the minutes until 5pm. There is far too much to be done to be able to mope around and usually I am counting the minutes I am at work past 5pm! I do find myself getting out of bed in frustration, being unproductive with my time in the morning and watching TV to distract myself at night. I’d like to change that.

I was encouraged by an article recently which encouraged leaders undertaking long hours in their work to spend some time considering what their ideal start to the workday would be. Mine would look something like this:

5.30 – wake

5.45 – 30 minute runIMG_0929

6.15 – 15 minutes stretching/yoga

6.30 – breakfast with newspaper

6.45 – shower and dress

7.00 – walk to school

7.15 – clear overnight emails and set plan for day

7.45 – cup of tea and finish newspaper

8.00 – staff commual prayer

We are about to commence Week 9 of the second term of school and I’m going to try to nail this for the next 3 weeks. Remembering my own advice ‘to be gentle on oneself when commencing a new path’ of course! Join with me #getoutofbedmrbrennen

You can read Joshua Becker’s article which inspired this post here.

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The possibility in blank spaces

How I love blank spaces. I’ve written about the beauty of blank pages before and this lovely piece by Joshua Becker reminds us of the freedom, space, time and quiet that comes from blank spaces.

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10 Ways We Can Be Kinder To One Another

We live in a world that has so many good people who do amazing things for others. As we all know too well, we also live in a world of darkness and pure evil…Sometimes, it’s just overwhelming…By resolving to be kinder to one another, we can have a big impact…In much of society, we’ve extinguished the lights in how we go about our daily routines. You know the light I’m talking about: doing something kind for someone else or being supportive of someone who needs it or just being a friendly face in a dark crowd.

– Paul Jankowski

We can all be kinder to each other and bravo to Paul Jankowski for this lovely reminder of the practicalities of being a kinder species.

Full article here.

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Advance Australia Fair? What to do about growing inequality in Australia

The wealthiest 20 per cent of households in Australia now account for 61 per cent of total household net worth, whereas the poorest 20 per cent account for just 1 per cent of the total. In recent decades the income share of the top 1 per cent has doubled, and the wealth share of the top 0.001 per cent has more than tripled. At the same time, poverty is increasing and many of those dependent upon government benefits, including the unemployment benefit, have fallen well below the poverty line. If we do not pay attention to the problem of financial inequality, current economic circumstances are likely to make it worse.

I may have missed it but it seems this report coming from a 2014 federal government round table has flown under the radar. I’ve had a read and it presents some challenges for us as a nation indeed. In the words of the report itself:

In 21st century Australia, do we still care about equality of opportunity, ‘a fair go for all’? If so, what are we prepared to do to make it happen?

The full report is quite readable and presents much for further reflection.

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A history of lost happiness

“Who tells the stories of a culture really governs human behavior,” said media scholar George Gerbner. “It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.”

The conversation about sources of fulfillment and joy has been colonized by the advertisers that manufacture the mindset of the consumer culture.

– Sarah van Gelder

A topic I have returned often to is the pervasive nature of the consumer culture. Van Gelder’s article looking at the loss of American happiness brings forth the argument for what she calls ‘sustainable happiness’ –  “…a happiness built on a healthy natural world and a vibrant and fair society. It is a form of happiness that endures, through good and bad times…You can’t obtain it with a quick fix; [it] cannot be achieved at the expense of others.”

It reminded me of the words of Kristin van Ogtrop:

“Don’t race to the top. Never race to the top. If you want to aim for the top, good for you. But try to get there slowly, deliberately, without knocking everyone else out of the way. Or missing the beautiful view.”

You can find van Gelder’s article here.

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The Art of Manliness


I read quite a few blogs regularly. Often links to articles on my favourites turn up in my musings. One blog that hasn’t had much attention from me on this blog is Art of Manliness (AOM).

As one can guess, the goal of AOM is to help men to be better at life. A noble aim indeed! If you have a few moments, have a look around their site. There is a bounty of useful material – from suggested manly reading lists through to how to properly sharpen an axe.

The article that I link to below is classic AOM – some simple suggestions to improve your Sunday.

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