TA Banner

December 2012

A Message for the New Year

It seems at the end of each year, people will say to us, "where has the year gone?" This is often accompanied by a sentiment about feeling the need to have a break. As a indication of the increasing work pressures for some, this was heard from as early as Melbourne Cup this year. It seems that many people find themselves dealing with more stress than they have previously.

This is not surprising as there is a continually growing belief in the need for more and more productivity in the workplace and this invariably translates into less people expected to produce the same or more outcomes than before. As a result, it is rare today to find people in the workplace who do not feel they have far more to do than they can fit into their hours of work and are being asked to do more. Obviously something has to give!

At Talking About, we want to help make the world a better place. Much of our work finds us in conversations about creating more a balanced life. So, our wish for you for the New Year is BALANCE. A balance that provides you enough stress in life to be motivated and engaged in living, and not enough stress to overwhelm you. A balance in your relationships that allows you to feel your needs are addressed in concert with the needs of the others in your relationships. A capacity within yourself to value and balance your emotional ups and downs and recognise the meaning they bring to your life.

Enjoy 2013!

Warm Wishes

Chris, Jacqui and the Talking About Team


Understanding the Debt Trap

"There is, of course, a gold mine or a buried treasure on every mortgaged homestead. Whether the farmer ever digs for it or not, it is there, haunting his daydreams when the burden of debt is most unbearable."

… Fawn M. Brodie (1915-1981) US author

Do you ever wonder why people find themselves way over their heads in debt? If you do then you are not alone. For many people, the festive season is a period of extensive gift giving and the month of January finds a lot of them scratching their heads over the size of their credit card bills and how they are going to pay them off.

We can even look to the current so-called "financial cliff" that the United States faces and ask how they could possibly amass a sixteen trillion dollar debt that is growing by the minute and which is rapidly bringing the US and the rest of the world to a nasty financial shock.

How the hell do we get ourselves into these situations? After all, it is not as though we cannot see it coming. Most people, with debt problems continue to spend beyond their means even when they know they cannot afford to do so.

One way to answer this question lies in how human beings make decisions.

Much as we would like to think that we are rational decision makers, this is actually far from the truth. Rather than always calmly weighing up the pros and cons of a situation, our decision making process is largely the result of a continuous battle between our internal reward and loss systems. This battle centres around dopamine which is produced by dopamine neurons in the brain and is fought in the subconscious. The upshot of this is that we are constantly torn between what we might gain and what we might lose - what we term "expanding" and "conserving" tendencies in the ontological approach. As a general rule, we tend to place more emphasis on what we might lose compared to what we might gain. This means that we have to believe the potential reward will have to considerably outweigh the potential loss if it is to be our main driver.

Enter the credit card. Before the widespread use of credit cards, most people used cash to buy goods. In other words, when they bought something, they had to give something up. We gave the shopkeeper something physical and knew we were losing something now. This tended to temper our purchasing decisions. The introduction of credit cards changed all that. When buying something with a credit card, we get the pleasure of the purchase whilst being detached from pain of the loss of money. We tend to overvalue the immediate gain and undervalue the future loss. Hence many people end up buying more than they can afford. The buzz we get from buying something new is so pervasive that we have even created a term for it, "retail therapy". You just have to go to a shopping mall on any weekend to see how addictive this therapy can be. You only have to look at the statistics of credit card debt to see how debilitating it can also be for some.

This tendency to overvalue immediate gain and undervalue future loss is just one aspect of the unseen processes of human decision making. Given that each one of us is constantly making decisions, it is remarkable how little most people know about just what is involved when we do so. The example of buying with a credit card and its possible impact is but the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to find out more on this subject and you are looking for something interesting to read during the holiday season, one book that will help you understand how we humans decide to do what we do is "The Decisive Moment" by Jonah Lehrer. If you prefer an audiobook, the same book is entitled, "How We Decide".

We invite you to explore more articles on being human in our articles section.

If you would like to find out more, please write to us. We would love to hear from you.

Pause for Possibility

"You must train your intuition -- you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide."

… Ingrid Bergman (1915 - 1982) Swedish actress

Given our topic this month, we would like to invite you to think about how you make decisions in life.

Consider a recent decision that you made or one you are grappling with at the moment. Preferably make it one that is of some consequence.

Often we have already made our mind up about a situation and our reasoning about the situation simply allows us to maintain that we are right. Our emotional state predisposes our thinking about a current situation, so being able to observe how this might colour our decision making can enhance how we decide thereby allowing for us to make more effective decisions.

If you are on FaceBook you might like to check out the Pause for Possibilities Project by clicking here.

Something New

From next year, we are going to give you the chance to explore our newsletter topics in more depth. As you know, we issue our newsletter towards the end of each month. Starting next year, we are going to offer the opportunity to be part of an online conversation to explore how the last newsletter topic plays out in everyday life. To that end, we will be hosting a free online panel conversation in the week after the release of the newsletter where you can listen in to Talking About's coaches discussing the topic and, if you wish, contribute your own thoughts or questions. Places in these conversations will be limited as we want those involved to be able to contribute to the conversation.

We will tell you the details of how this will be set up in the January edition of Talking About.

Some Plugs

Webinar: The Coaching Leader

How to lead engagement, accountability and productivity through coaching.

Jacqui and our American colleague, Denver Hudson, will be presenting a webinar, "The Coaching Leader", at the HR.com virtual conference, Developing Organizational Leadership Capabilities, to be held in late January.

This webinar poses the question and explores some answers as to “How coaching applies to leading?” This webinar highlights the importance of "The Coaching Leader", looks at the parallels between leading and coaching and includes some practical coaching applications that can be readily applied to leadership.

This highly practical session will offer you new perspectives on leading others as well as easy to apply coaching tools designed to increase engagement, foster accountability and boost productivity that you can use straight away.

Jacqui and Denver will share with you a paradigm shifting coaching approach to leading that allows you to pinpoint fundamental causes of disengagement, unreliability and low productivity. They will then share some ideas about how to create the conditions that cultivate enjoyment, responsibility and achievement.

The webinar is being held on Tuesday January 29th 7.30-8.30am AEDT.

To register for this complimentary webinar all you have to do is register on the HR.com site. To find out more simply click here.

Public Workshop: Solving the Accountability Puzzle.

Do you find that:

If these situations sound familiar to you, then you are not alone. They are common problems arising from poor organisational accountability.

Accountability continues to be a recurring theme in our work. Indeed we believe that accountability, along with engagement and productivity, form the big three areas of concerns within organisations today.

Creating a "culture of accountability" is NOT about creating a culture of punishment. When correctly understood and applied, accountability not only creates greater efficiency and therefore productivity, it provides for reduced stress and better working relationships.

Our 2012 accountability workshops have been fantastic and a great success and we will be running our next “Solving the Accountability Puzzle” workshop in March 2013.

This workshop is designed to give you a straight-forward and practical approach to addressing your accountability concerns and is ONLY $125.75 inclusive of booking fees and GST. This is remarkable value for a half-day workshop.

The workshop is on Wednesday 6th March between 8:30am & 12:30pm. Due to the highly interactive nature of the session, seating is limited, so get in quick!

You can find more information and check out what attendees at previous sessions have had to say about their experience by visiting our web site page on accountability.

Alternatively you can go straight to EventBrite and register today.


The Monthly Diversion

This one is a little longer than usual, but a delightful take on the twelve days of Christmas! ...

Dearest John:

I went to the door today and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. What a delightful gift. I couldn't have been more surprised.

With dearest love and affection, Agnes

December 15th

Dearest John:

Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine, two turtle doves... I'm just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are just adorable.

All my love, Agnes

December 16th

Dear John:

Oh, aren't you the extravagant one! Now I must protest. I don't deserve such generosity. Three French hens. They are just darling but I must insist.... you're just too kind.

Love Agnes

December 17th

Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now really! They are beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough? You're being too romantic.

Affectionately, Agnes

December 18th

Dearest John:

What a surprise! Today the postman delivered five golden rings. One for each finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, John, all those squawking birds were beginning to get on my nerves.

All my love, Agnes

December 19th

Dear John:

When I opened the door there were actually six geese-a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbours are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. PLEASE STOP!

Cordially, Agnes

December 20th


What's with you and those birds???? Seven swans-a-swimming. What kind of joke is this? There's bird do-do all over the house and they never stop the racket. I'm a nervous wreck and I can't sleep all night. IT'S NOT FUNNY.......So stop with those birds.

Sincerely, Agnes

December 21st

OK Buster:

I think I prefer the birds. What am I going to do with eight maids-a-milking? It's not enough with all those birds and eight maids-a-milking, but they had to bring their own cows. There is poop all over the lawn and I can't move into my own house. Just lay off me.


December 22nd


What are you? Some kind of sadist? Now there's nine pipers playing. And do they play! They never stopped chasing those maids since they got here yesterday morning. The cows are upset and are stepping all over those screeching birds. No wonder they screech. What am I going to do? The neighbours have started a petition to evict me. You'll get yours.

From Ag

December 23rd

You Creep! Now there's ten ladies dancing - I don't know why I call them ladies. Now the cows can't sleep and they've got diarrhoea. My living room is a river of poop. The commissioner of buildings has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building shouldn't be condemned. I'm sicking the police on you.

One who means it, Ag

December 24th

Listen Idiot. What's with the eleven lords a-leaping? All 234 of the birds are dead. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten swine.

Your sworn enemy, Miss Agnes McCallister

December 25th

(From the law offices Taeker, Spedar, and Baegar)

Dear Sir:

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers fiddling, which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes McCallister. The destruction, of course, was total. All correspondence should come to our attention. If you should attempt to reach Miss McCallister at Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.


"If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play."

… John Cleese (b. 1939) English actor and writer 

Talking About Coach Training

Are you looking for Personal Growth?

ANZIAlthough, on the surface it may not seem to be the case, we have had a number of participants in our coach training program who have enrolled solely for the purpose of their personal development.

Why is this?

Great coaching is more than a set of skills; it is a way of being. The TACT Professional Coach Program focuses on developing each participant's artistry as a coach and by doing so we aim to help that person grow as an individual.

Good coaches have developed abilities to:

  1. Interpret the human condition giving them powerful explanations of why people, including themselves, do what they do
  2. Understand how to effectively learn and deal with change
  3. Listen to others in a way that builds trust and better relationships
  4. Engage in conversations that help them resolve people's problems rather than simply talking about them
  5. Collaborate with others in highly effective ways
  6. Understand and manage their emotional life

In many ways, good coaching is simply about a good understanding of the human condition and how we relate to each other. Coaching does not only apply to working with others, we can develop a level of self-mastery through self-coaching.

If you are someone who is looking to embrace more of your potential, then we invite you to consider enrolling in our program. It is an effective way of enhancing your sense of self and the relationships with those around you.

Finally, one of the great benefits of undertaking our program is that, in addition to all the learning, you get your own coach for the period of your enrolment in the program. Added together, we believe that this program is an ideal way to help you on your personal growth journey.

We are very proud of our program and the quality of the graduates we produce. So if you are interested in finding out more then we invite you to visit our web site or write to us at info@talkingabout.com.au.

Join Us Online

Do you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn or Facebook group depending on your preference and share any insights you may have. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here or on Facebook by clicking here.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

Not Subscribed Yet?

If you do not yet receive our complimentary e-zine each month, getting it is easy. Simply click here and follow the prompts! We look forward to sharing with you regularly.

If you wish to unsubscribe, simply click the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the e-mail that was sent to you.


Talking About Pty Ltd
PO Box 6652,
St Kilda Rd Central,
Victoria, 8008.
Ph: +613 9504 3558

Copyright © 2012 Talking About Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
Visit talkingabout.com.au | Contact us

Join us online: