Tossing the Ball Around
Tossing the Ball Around
It is August 19th, 2013, and I am very excited this morning. I am sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Hamilton in New Zealand. Last night, the All Blacks gave the Wallabies a bit of a spanking, but I am excited.
Did you see the game? Maybe Rugby Union is not your cup of tea, and that is ok. I can forgive you for that. But having been born and partly raised in Queensland, it is in my blood.
I feel like, for the first time in a very long time, the shackles have come off the Wallabies. They stopped being so dour in defence and started to throw the ball around. Their play was exciting, adventurous and they took chances.
They made some mistakes that the All Blacks capitalised on, but they didn’t go into their shells. They just kept at it, running the ball and throwing it around, taking risks.
And the amazing effect was that this seemed to free up the All Blacks as well and they started to play an even more positive brand of Rugby. The game was thrilling and spectacular.
Wait till the Wallabies settle into this new style of play. They will give the World Cup a real shake in 2015.
But, that is not the main source of my excitement. It demonstrates to me a shift in attitude at the pointy end of this country. The Australian Rugby Union is not the government but they still hold our hearts in their hands. Perhaps Cricket Australia is learning this too.
See, I have had this feeling of dismay for so long about the decisions being made in the top end of town. The world economy has been struggling for a long time and the best strategies our corporate leaders can think of is to shut down on spending. They are playing a defensive game and it is killing so many other areas of the economy.
What would happen if they took a different viewpoint and took some risks and started to spend, become ambitious and bold. There may be some different results.
Small businesses depend on big businesses spending money. When big businesses go into “spending shut down” mode, they still make big profits. But, those profits end up in company savings or in the pockets of shareholders and very little of it creeps out into the economy.
Small and medium businesses then tend to follow suit and zip up their wallets and purses and everything slows to a crawl. Then we look at Governments and say they are not doing enough.
This fear based mindset makes a recession more real and keeps it frozen in place, as opposed to building our way out of it.
Economic slow-downs have a huge negative impact, not just because people lose their jobs or because small businesses fail, but also because there is less revenue going into essential community services and many of societies normal support structures begin to break under the strain.
So, let’s bring this back into our own lives. What are we doing? Are we playing it safe like the Wallabies have been, or are we prepared to take a risk and throw the ball around a little?
Are we stopping spending “just in case”, or holding back on more speculative investments, or even holding off on going into the business we always wanted to start….because the time is not right?
Are we investing in the shares of the big companies who are putting the brakes on and sucking the life out of the economy so we can get safe returns? If we are, it could be argued that we are part of the problem.
Are you buying cheap food to save money or are you going for good health and wellbeing and buying the good stuff, and in doing so, supporting positive industries and food suppliers?
This probably all comes back to us shifting our perspective from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” When you step up and do your bit to make the economy grow, you are making a huge contribution to the lives of others. And you don’t have to spend money with the big corporates who are cutting costs and hording wealth either.
This fits in perfectly with a piece of advice Greg Norman once gave me. I asked him about some of the outrageously risky shots he used to take, like a One Wood over the trees on a par 5 dog leg at Huntingdale. He said to me, “My first obligation is the fans. They come to see exciting golf. So, that is what I give them. If I win too, that is a bonus.”
So, is the world seeing your most exciting gifts right now?