World Champion of Public Speaking 2014: Dananjaya Hettiarachchi (Video and Transcript)

Grace: I thought this was a fantastic speech, so I’m sharing it with you! :D Make sure you watch the video…

‘I See Something’

“You and I are not very different from this flower. Just like this flower is unique, you are unique. All of us have something special that makes us as beautiful. Do you know what makes you special?

Now the answer to that can be a little difficult to find, because sometimes life has a cruel way of picking out your petals, breaking you in two and throwing you into the trash. Now when you’re broken, it’s very difficult to feel special.

Mr Contest Chair, my fellow flowers, I can remember the first time I broke. I was seventeen years old. I had already flunked high school and managed to get myself arrested. Now, I wasn’t afraid of the cops, but there was one person I was very afraid of, and that was my mama. Raise your hand if you had an emotional mother. Let me see. Put them all together, you get my mama. I can hear her scream outside the police station. Even the cops were afraid. She came up to me, held the iron bars, looked into my eyes and I saw a tear coming down her face.

Now I’ve seen my mama crying before, but mothers cry three types of tear: tears of joy, tears of sorrow and tears of shame. And when a son sees a mother cry tears of shame, that’s a life-changing moment. She looked at me and said “Son, I want you to be a better man”. That night when I drove home, my dad was waiting for me at home.

Now my dad is a cool dad. Raise your hand if you have a cool dad. Put them all together, you get my dad. My dad came up to me and said “Son, it’s okay. You flunked your exams. You already got arrested. That’s fine. You get that from your mother’s side. I want you to start working immediately”. And I said, “Okay”.

So my dad took me to meet one of his friends called Sam. Now, Sam was an accountant who had an accounting firm and had generously decided to make me his personal assistant and there he was. He looked like a teddy bear, but this man was special.

I looked at him and he looked at me and then he said the most amazing thing. He said “Son, I see something in you, but I don’t know what it is. If you decide to work with me, I can help you find that something”. And I was like, wow, that’s the first time in my whole life somebody has ever told they see something in me and I started working for Sam. And everyday after work he used to tell me stories about the world, about history, about culture, about philosophy and it was much more interesting than what I learned in school. And I discovered I can dream and I started dreaming, ladies and gentlemen. After one year I went back into high school, completed my exams and went into college.

After successfully completing college, I found a great girl, but not a job. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Have you ever had that problem? And when you’re lost it’s difficult to feel special. So I went back to my cool dad and I said “Dad, I feel lost”. He said “You are like your mother.” So my dad introduced me to this strange club that had a strange name, with strange people… talking.

On the first meeting they told me to do something called a table topic. I aced it! But while I was speaking I see a strange man seated in the back row; humble, simple, the unfailing quality of kindness in his eyes. As soon I finished he walked up to me, looked me dead straight in the eye and said, “Son, I see something in you, but I don’t know what it is. If you come here twice a month maybe we can find that something.”

And ladies and gentlemen, I discovered I could speak and I love speaking and that led me to become a teacher. I know what it’s like to not have enough money in your bank account. I know what it’s like to worry when the bills start coming in. And sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up my beautiful wife and ask her “Honey, why did you marry me?” She says, “I saw something in you, but I still don’t know what it is!”

Ladies and gentlemen, today I’m a dreamer, I’m a speaker and I learned the unfailing quality of unconditional love from my wife.

I was broken and I’ve been broken, lost and broke many times in my life, but the people in my life were able to reach into the trash can and make me whole again. If it was up to me, I would have never been able to do it. And this is why if you have great people in your life, no matter how broke, how lost or how broken you become they can piece you back again.

Ladies and gentleman, when I look at you I see something in you, but I don’t know what it is? Over to you.”

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013 WINNER: Cain Ng :D

8 Days Shirtless Guy 2013 with Rebecca Lim

I attended the 8 Days Shirtless Guy Finale Party at RedDot BrewHouse Dempsey last night and wanted to blog about it when I got home, but was too sleepy after 2 half-glasses of beer. Why half? The first was a free drink, and the second was from a stage game I was picked for and reluctantly joined. LOL!

In any case…

My trainer, Cain Ng WON! :D

Here’s the 2nd Runner-up winner: Edward Tan, 19

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

1st Runner-up: Roshan Rohit, 26

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

And WINNER, Cain Ng, 35:

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

Cain was also awarded not 1 but 2 subsidiary titles! He is…

Mr Hot Physique

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

And Mr Well-Groomed

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

* woohoo *

I’m hoping he gets scouted for MediaCorp too, so we’ll get to see Cain on TV. He has the whole package: good looks, a hot bod and a winning personality.

And at this point, I really HAVE to casually mention that I (yes, that’s right) was the one who suggested he should join this 8 Days Shirtless Guy Search. And I constantly bugged him with questions of “Have you submitted your application? Are you sure it has been submitted? Have they contacted you?” :D

And the rest is history.

I thought the 19 year old contestant, Edward Tan, had a good chance of winning as he has boyish good looks. But he was ultimately no match for Cain’s amazing stage presence.

I think many of the contestants were too nervous on stage and did not seize the opportunity to present themselves in a good light. There was an interesting segment in which they had to pick an envelope and the host would tell them what scenario they had to act out. After that one minute of acting, they would be given a choice of exercise equipment: hula hoop, double wheeler or resistance band. And they would have to use the equipment to flaunt their bods.

Why the 8 Days Shirtless Guy Search is more than just a flesh parade:

The 1-minute segments really tested the contestants’ poise on stage, their composure in unfamiliar situations, and whether they have a good sense of humor and creativity.

Cain was told to pretend he is the conductor of an orchestra, and he gamely put up a great performance. At the end, he even used his chest muscles to do the conducting, as he is able to isolate and move just his chest muscles. I used to laugh at him when he did that in the gym. Little did I know how entertaining that little act is on stage!

The 1st runner up, Roshan Rohit, also did a good job. He was supposed to pretend he is in a hostel and there are ‘sexy noises’ coming from the room next door. Roshan took a resistance band and began working out, stretching and flexing his muscles, claiming that the sexy noises (“oh yeah! yes!!!” etc) would be his motivation. It was hilarious!

Some other guys picked topics such as:

1) Your arm is injured but you want to impress your girlfriend’s mother, who has many shopping bags she’d like your help with carrying.

The contestant came up with an unconvincing tale of how he had injured himself from giving his girlfriend’s dad a piggyback ride to the hospital. And therefore he cannot help with the shopping bags, and he would train his girlfriend so she’d have the muscles to carry the bags. (@_@)

What I think he should have done: At least try to carry some bags despite his (fake) injury. And to top it all off, use his teeth to get a grip on an (imaginary) bag and carry it that way. Hey, you are trying to impress someone right?

2) Another contestant picked a topic that involved training a lazy client in the gym. ANYONE can bark out orders so there was really NOTHING special about what that contestant did.

What I think he should have done: Get down on the ground and do those push-ups together with your client. Shouting orders motivates NO ONE, really! When my trainer makes me do planks and hold for a minute or two, he actually joins in, and even though it is easy-peasy for him, it IS more motivating for me, the client!

I should so totally be a coach for next year’s contestants, OR be a judge. Hahaha! :D

Here’s a final picture of the dashing and daring winner of 8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013, Cain Ng:

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

Contact Cain:

*If you’d like to sign up for a personal training session with Cain, send him an email:, and cc. the email to Alternatively, you can leave a private message on Quantum Fitness’ FB page:

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013: I’m Voting For Cain Ng!

The 8 Days Shirtless Guy Search is back for the third year in a row! :) And my personal trainer, Cain Ng, is a finalist! I went to show my support last Saturday in the “unveiling” (literally) of the 9 finalists. They first came on stage fully clothed, then took off their shirts right in front of us. Temperatures kinda soared from that point on…

8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013The 9 Finalists with Ann Kok

As part of erm, stage games(?), the guys had to pose with Ann for pictures, impress her with their “acting” (like, seriously, 8 Days?! This isn’t Star Search, ya know!) and play a game of charades.

My trainer, Cain Ng:8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

I believe that’s “8-pack abs”, not just “6-pack abs”. :D Wanna find out how he gets his abs? Leave me a comment here and I’ll go ask him!

Based on Sat’s event, I think my trainer really deserves to win. And it’s not because I’m biased or anything like that. Here’s why I think he should be 8 Days’ Shirtless Guy 2013:

1) He has awesome stage presence and a winning smile. Really.

2) He’s so comfortable walking around topless. Unlike some of the guys who hemmed and hawed and weren’t too comfortable removing their shirts. One even got his shirt stuck around his neck as he tried to take it off. (@_@)

3) During charades, he randomly picked the card that read “kicking a soccer ball” (or something along those lines) but when the contestant next to him (sneakily) asked if they could swap cards, my trainer agreed! And ended up having to dance, which is erm, not quite his forte. He is just so nice like that! Extra points, I say! Judges, are you reading this?!!! :P

4) When the third contestant had to act out “Winning a beauty pageant”, my trainer actually ‘volunteered’ his help as the “prize presenter” or else that guy (and the person trying to guess) would have been so helpless. What a gentleman! Totally deserves to win!

Here’s a picture of me and my trainer, Cain. The little blurb above sounds so wrong. Just ignore it:8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013

I’m giving away a box of goodies worth over S$1,000. Stand a chance to win it if you ‘like’ my giveaway on facebook and help vote for Cain to win the 8 Days Shirtless Guy Search here:


Giveaway for the guys

*Special Giveaway* ‘Just For The Guys’ box of goodies! Ladies, you can also take part and win this for your man!

Guys, if you don’t have a personal trainer like I do, I’ll send you to AbsTrim (endorsed by actor Chen Hanwei) with this giveaway so they can work on your abs, in time for Christmas and the new year!

Win this whole set including a $1155.60 AbsTrim voucher, NIVEA For Men Cooling Volcanic Mud Foam Cleanser, Sunkiller SPF 50+ PA++++ Sunblock, and Stephen James Organics goodies!

How To Win:

1) Like my giveaway post on Facebook
2) Vote for Cain Ng (My personal trainer. Hehe!) to win the 8 Days Shirtless Guy Search 2013:
3) Comment here when you are done with Step 1 and 2

It’s that simple!

Results: Friday, 13th Dec 2013.


Hoping my trainer wins the title! Results will be out this Thursday! :)

My Sharing Session @ Passion Unleashed – Reigniting Your Fire!

[This post is in place of a PowerPoint presentation at a Passion Unleashed talk at SMU, as I am a blogger (hence a blogpost), and not a ‘PowerPoint presenter’, if there is indeed such a term. Ha! I’ll ‘flesh out’ this post after the event so stay tuned!]

What’s one ‘mountain’ in your life that you want to conquer?

Mount Kinabalu Low's Peak

Remember: Some things are just not for everyone!

How To Reignite Your Passion?


(1) You have found your passion

You’re not still looking…


(2) There is nothing you are more passionate about now

How To Find Your Passion:

-> Not what is easy or approved but what feels right for you

croc hunter


-> Subtle clues along the way to ‘tell’ you

-> What are you passionate about? What would you still do even if you are not paid a single cent to do?

-> FIND your passion!


How To Reignite Your Passion:

(1) Revisit the original WHY

– Esp. when times get tough


(2) It’s really ok to take a different path for a while

– Give yourself permission


(3) Keep Challenging Yourself

– Success = achieving the goals you set for yourself

What I really want to do, because Blogging is such hard work:


– Keep setting new goals!


Whatever you do, have FUN!



*Connect with me on Facebook

My Dream Job Is…

When I still held a full-time job in the corporate world, I dreamed of the day:

1) I don’t have to jostle with the crowd during peak hours [I hate feeling like canned sardine]

2) I can take off for a holiday as and when I want [Seek approval for leave? No way!]

3) I can savor mom’s cooking without telling her “No, I can’t be back for dinner. Have to work.” [No more OT without pay, boss!]

And you already know what’s coming…

I scored that dream job! :D

Does Blogging pay the bills?

Not all the time, not for everyone, and certainly not at the start, as most bloggers will tell you.

On page 11 of my book ‘Blogging For A Living’, I make a ‘guesstimate’ of how much top blogger, Wendy Cheng aka Xiaxue earns per month. Read my book to find out more. ;)

If you’d like to become a successful blogger, learn from other bloggers, like I do. :)

Question: What do these top bloggers have in common?

Brad Lau Lady Iron Chef


Dr Leslie Tay ieatishootipost

Let me know what your answer is? ;)

Grace Tan blogger Singapore

*Receiving my blog award from Minister Lawrence Wong*

Receiving my award from Minister Lawrence Wong

My Tips on how to get started with blogging

1) Pick a topic of interest [Think not about monetisation first]

2) Set up your blog [I recommend WordPress]

3) Post [and post some more]

I provide a step-by-step guide to setting up your blog and uploading your first blogpost in my book ‘Blogging For A Living’.

To find out more about my blogging journey, and to check out my interviews with top bloggers in Singapore, purchase a copy of my book from any of the major bookstores and stand to win a prize from my S$1000 Sk-II Giveaway:

SK-II Giveaway

Come by for my book launch on 12th October, 2pm, at Kinokuniya’s flagship store at Ngee Ann City to grab a copy of my book, get an autograph and have a photo taken together! :D See you then!

No Limits with Nick Vujicic: One Heck Of A Motivational Speaker

938LIVE Nick Vujicic No Limits Postcard

I was one of the lucky 5,000 who managed to get tickets to watch Nick Vujicic LIVE in Singapore, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, next to Buona Vista MRT Station! :D Were you at the event too?


Got to the venue in a taxi and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the cabby is none other than Halim Haron, a former national champion bodybuilder! He now drives a cab on weekends, and is a fitness instructor on weekdays. I even got some fitness tips during the journey – totally worth every cent paid! Haha!

Halim Haron


Tickets to “No Limits” were sold out within 5 days (so apparently, there were limits to the number of seats! Ha!).

For those who were unable to attend the event, I’d like to share my notes with you right here. So, if it’s of use to you, leave me a comment, even if it’s just to say “thanks!” ok? :D

“When you concentrate on the things you don’t have, you forget what you DO have.”

You are valuable, no matter what. You are beautiful.

Heard about FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real?

How can you get courage? PURPOSE ignites courage.

8 principles:

(1) Have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you have.

(2) You don’t know what you can achieve till you TRY!

(3) If you fail, try again.

Keep trying to reach your fullest potential without comparing yourself with anyone else.

The greatest things in life are not things!

Be yourself, not anyone else!

Don’t let your appearance define who you are.

Take one day at a time. Be thankful.

Have you forgiven yourself of the past?

(4) Failure = Education

You are not a failure.

(5) Obstacles can be transformed into opportunities.
Don’t know something? Now’s your chance to learn to do it.

(6) Dream BIG

(7) Never ever ever EVER give up!

(8) Have faith

If you don’t get a miracle, you can still be a miracle for someone else.

Go and help the poor. Pray for those who don’t have food.
Do your best. God will do the rest.
Use what you are great at as a confidence booster. Focus on what you have, what you are good at.

Have clarity about which things you can change and which things you just cannot change.

Having trouble asking for help???
Nick’s answer: Be willing to ask for help so people can partake in your success to come because they have helped you.

Learn to delegate. Find trustworthy people. If you give someone a task, he’ll not do it exactly the way you want. Learn to let go.
Some things you just can’t compromise about, but for other things, you can!

Finally, one last thing that Nick said that really resonated with me was this: “I want people to want to work with me. Not because of money but because they want to work with me.”

Thanks for popping by Working With Grace. :) I hope you have been inspired. Let’s all have a ridiculously good life, just like Nick’s! :D

Interview with Joe Augustin + Free Course for ONE Lucky Reader!

Joe Augustin and Grace

I attended Joe’s ‘Master Your Ceremonies: The Art of Emceeing’ workshop at Art of Voice last month and had a GREAT time! And if you don’t already know, Joe interviewed Richard Branson on stage at the National Achievers Congress 2013! It is one thing to learn from the guy and another to see him in action the very next day! :)

And the best part is this: ONE of you will get to attend Joe’s course for free. [Choose from either Master of Ceremonies OR Dynamic Presentations] Details at the end of this interview blogpost :)

I also had the pleasure of a short interview (over the phone) with Joe. Check this out:

1) You conduct a course on emceeing called ‘Master Your Ceremonies’. Share with us the highlights of your journey as an emcee and tell us which has been your most embarrassing emcee moment, and what you learnt from that experience.

I don’t get embarrassed. There have been challenges, such as the complete failure of all electrical systems. Thankfully, it was a small room.

When I was 21, I did my second emceeing gig and did not get paid – the cheque for $400 bounced. I always problem-solve so now I am very strict about taking payments before a show. Even big clients can default. For voice-overs, I also incentivise upfront payment by offering discounts.

[Grace: Joe is one of those rare few who completely strategise every move and think of all possible things that can go wrong and come up with contingencies for each. It’s pretty incredible.]

2) You have been in the radio industry for more than 2 decades. How did you get started and when did you realize you had the passion and/or talent for radio?
Since I was a kid in school (at VJC), I have been involved with funfairs and orientations. I just got on the mic and tried some stuff. In the big PA room high above, no one can see you and you can do something with your voice. Looking down, you can see everyone having a good time and responding to you. At funfairs, people thought Brian Richmond was doing all that when it was actually me, so that’s a good thing.
I have always pursued fun. I used to play with the band though I was not a band member, and hung out in the councillors room though I was not a councillor. In Secondary Two, I did just well enough to get into the best class and in JC, I skipped classes and did the minimum, attending only classes for the subjects I enjoyed.
Does this apply to my children? Only if they have a plan, and they know they are heading somewhere and not just avoiding something they don’t want.
3) Whether it is for public speaking or speaking on radio, the gentlemen are able to get away with most jokes while women have less “freedom”. How can female presenters or emcees be funny without being perceived as going overboard?
The bar is usually set lower for men in terms of self-respect. People expect less of a man’s moral standards while women are held in higher regard. For instance, we expect more of a priest than a ‘man on the street’. The women are held up like the ‘priests’.
4) Tell us something that we don’t know about Joe Augustin and his job as a radio producer-presenter.
I am very serious about comedy and good story-telling. This has made life difficult for the people around me. I am very particular about stories well-told and humor well-designed. I spend a lot of time on my craft. I learn story-telling from the world’s best, like Robert McKee. I also spend thousands of dollars on classes.
It is a tightrope that we walk, balancing things while trying to gain an audience. You will always have to take chances or you risk being boring. Get out of what everyone else is doing! So there’s this need to achieve balance between pushing the envelope and meeting the licensing requirements. One cannot say certain things or the complaints will come in. This is made worse by bosses who push tougher guidelines than necessary. Essentially, you are trying to be fearless but you are working under people who are scared.
5) You have been a radio presenter, emcee, actor, now trainer, so what’s next? [Grace: Joe had a restaurant – Flam’s – at Orchard Central, which did not quite take off because of the mall’s lack of ‘human traffic’]
I seek diversification in terms of employment. And I’m starting a new business called Spungry which could possibly unseat Groupon.
Now, about that course…
I attended the ‘Master Your Ceremonies’ course which is great for people who want to learn how to be emcees! If you want to learn tips not taught elsewhere, then you should attend Joe’s course. I loved the many practice sessions – one, it stops me from falling asleep, especially after lunch, and two, it helps me check if I have indeed understood what Joe has just taught. And constructive feedback from the other participants is really useful too! It is great that the class size is kept comfortably small. :)
And here’s how you can attend Joe’s class for free:
Step 1: Like and share my Facebook post here
Step 2: Like Art of Voice’s Facebook page:
Step 3: Comment on my Facebook post and tell me which class you prefer and why I should pick you as the winner!
**To score extra brownie points, vote for me to win at the Singapore Blog Awards! Hehe!
Good Luck!

Gold 90.5FM’s morning show host, Joe Augustin has spent 22 years as a broadcaster on Singapore’s Class 95FM, Power 98FM & Radio 91.3FM.

He has also been the Master of Ceremonies for literally hundreds of multi-national corporations. As one of Singapore’s best & most recognised emcees – few people have spent more time leading from the stage!

Joe’s skills in Voice, Presentation, Hosting and Public Speaking in general are highly sought after by multinationals and as well as government and statutory boards. With his analysis of Steve Job’s many presentations, his personal stage experience of more than 25 years and the story telling techniques Hollywood uses – Joe wants to help everyone make their next presentation INSANELY great!

National Achievers Congress 2013 – Speakers & Special Promo Code

*Update* Just spotted on Youtube that you can get 20% discount off NAC tix by using the promo code 20LESS. Not sure if it’s just a Labour Day promo or not :)

The annual National Achievers Congress never fails to get me excited about their lineup of speakers each year! This year is no different. We’ll get to hear from *drumroll* Sir Richard Branson! Some people I’ve interviewed for this blog previously will also be speaking at the event – watch out for Vanessa Tan and Cayden Chang. :) My friend, Sean Seah, will be speaking at the NAC too – I’m so happy for him! And hopefully, one day I’ll be able to take the stage at the NAC too. Muahaha! *Dreams up plans for world domination*

Needless to say, I’ll be at the NAC this year too, from 10th to 12th May. You’ll be there too right? If you haven’t bought your tickets, get them now at [use promo code GRACE to receive 15% discount off General and VIP seats!] Alternatively, call Gwen at 86120291 – mention this blog and you get the discount too. No reason not to be there! :)

Here’s some information about the speakers at this year’s NAC, that I got from Success Resources:

Business Development
1. Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group – “Business Secrets They Never Teach In School”. He will be sharing about his ups and downs while building up Virgin Group. 
2. Keith Cunningham, Foremost Authority on Business Mastery – “The Keys To Unlock And Ignite Your Business”. He will be imparting critical business skills which you need to be the market leader in your industry. 
3. Gerry Roberts, Bestselling Author, Mentor and International Speaker – “The Most Underestimated & Effective Vehicle for Driving Your Marketing”. He will cover the unconventional and innovative ideas for marketing which will boost your marketing efforts to an all new level. 
4. Andy Harrington, The World’s Leading Public Speaking Expert – “Powerful & Effective Presentation Tactics for Business”. He will be touching on the essential “know-hows” on how to persuade your customers both in person or in groups and influence them towards penning their signature on your desired dotted lines. 
Personal Growth
5. Les Brown, World’s Leading Motivational Speaker – “Hungry for Opportunity”. 
He will ignite the hunger in you wanting to succeed even more. He will uncover the boldness and confidence that is already imbued in you. He will reignite the “WHY” you need to be hungry to succeed. 
6. Robert Riopel, World Class Trainer and Success Coach – “Pursuing Success Or Just Running In Circles”. He is the currently the lead trainer in T Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar. He will share with us on how to manage your time with your family, friends and work and meanwhile achieving your financial goals. It’s not just about earning Millions but what’s your purpose in earning them. 
7. Andrew Bryant, Self Leadership Author, Coach and Motivational Speaker – “Self-Leadership As a Strategy for Success”. He will be covering on the secrets and tips on how to build a successful team. With his background of physiotherapy, neuro-semantics, hypnosis and positive psychology, he will be able to share more using these techniques to build a strong team. He is extremely suitable for Managers for mid to high level management. 
8. Cheri Tree, Leading Authority on Sales Training – “Increase your Sales by 300% – Crack the personality code and take it to the BANK”. She will be uncovering the proven sales techniques and sales training systems. She also will be sharing about her B.A.N.K system on how to grow your sales exponentially. She is extremely suitable for people in the Sales industry
Wealth Creation
9. Ewen Chia, World’s #1 Performer in Internet Affiliate Marketing – “Create your personal online ATM machine” He is the Guru for your online marketing. He will share tips and strategies if you are actually into an online business already to grow it to an all new level. 
10. Courtney Smith, History-Making Stock Market Investor – “An investment fueled income for life – Guaranteed!” Retired at the age of 22. He continued to explore knowledge in stock market. Seen it coming up and down several times, he will share with you the techniques and skills to make sure you will not be burnt but instead earn during such bad times. He is extremely suitable for people in the Finance industry
11. Sean Seah & Cayden Chang – Masters of Value Investing “Win consistently in a volatile market”. Sean and Cayden will be sharing their secrets on how to make money during these period of bearish market. How to seize the opportunity and gain the advantage in the stock market during bad times. 
12. Dr Rohan and Matthew Snedden, Global Property Investment Strategists – “Building wealth and financial freedom through property”. With the current global property market, these property experts will share with you the various opportunities which can be seized at such times like this. 
13. Marcus Di Maria, Forex – “Forex your way to freedom” – Building a consistent FOREX system towards accumulating profits. Marcus will share with you the mental model of an investor about their greed and fear during the ups and down times and how to thrive to take advantage and earn. 
Honestly, I’m looking forward mainly to hearing from Sir Richard Branson, Les Brown and Andy Harrington. However, the rest of the speakers seem like authorities in their field too, so I believe the NAC will be worth the time spent there. :)
Date: 10th – 12th May 2013
Time: 9am – 6pm
Location: Singapore Expo Hall 3A
Attire: Smart Casual
Ticket Pricing

VIP: S$2,228.00
Benefits of VIP: (VIP Treatment, Priority Sign-In, Access to VIP Lounge for lunch/dinner with Sir Richard Branson and key speakers, Private Q&A Session with Key Speakers and seated right in the first few rows.)

General: S$88.00

Stall: S$48.00

To get your tickets, head over to [use promo code GRACE to receive 15% discount off General and VIP seats!] Alternatively, call Gwen at 86120291 – mention this blog and you get the discount too.

I’ll see you at the NAC! :D

[New Book Giveaway] And 4 Steps To Thinking & Feeling Better Instantly

My friend, Jacky Chua, an author and professional coach, has recently published his second book ‘Tame Your Emotions – A Practical Guide To Overcoming Everyday Challenges‘.

I was really keen on reading this book as it shares with us the techniques of getting out of a negative state of mind and into a more empowering state so we can achieve the outcomes we desire. Isn’t that useful? :)

I love how he selected 4 of his coachees to be featured in his book and they give their honest, no-holds-barred account of their own emotional struggles and how they emerged stronger.

I found the book uplifting and loved how the personal stories made the book an even more valuable and engaging read. You’ll tap into not only the wisdom of one man, but that of 4 others too!

Best part is I took only slightly over an hour to complete reading the book. Sure, I know how to speed-read but it helped that this book is an easy read.

Some nuggets of wisdom I extracted from the book and scribbled into my notebook:

“In any relationship, if you are not adding value to it, by default, you are a liability” [That sure set me thinking!]

“There are only three things that you can control in your life: the thoughts you think, the words you say and the things you do.” [And most of the time, don’t we try to control what others think (of us), what words they spout, and their actions?]

“Avoid becoming emotionally bankrupt.”

“mix with the people whom you aspire to emulate”

“Just because no one else has done it yet, it does not mean that you cannot do it.”

“Treat all whom you meet as if they matter, because they do.”

“Dream big, start small.”

“…becoming a person of worth is more important than the destination.”

Good news! I’m giving away TWO AUTOGRAPHED COPIES of his latest book! :)


1) ‘Like’ my Facebook page here:

2) ‘Like’ the ‘Tame Your Emotions’ giveaway post

3) ‘Share’ the ‘Tame Your Emotions’ giveaway post

And you can be one of two lucky winners! The book will be delivered to you! :)

Right now… everyone can be a winner because I asked Jacky to share the 4 steps to thinking and feeling better instantly…


Because emotions are a product of our thoughts, you can change any way you feel in any particular situation, to any way you would like to feel, just by tweaking those thoughts.

Step 1: Be consciously AWARE

A conscious awareness of your thoughts is essential to contain any negative emotion from escalating when it is brewing, preventing it from causing potential threats to your well-being, and saving you from regrettable decisions. You will always know when a particular undesirable emotion rears its ugly head. The next time you experience a self-talk or random thought that does not make you feel good, capture it. The battle to maintain a neutral state of mind is half won. But in order to secure a sure-win you will have to do more than just being aware of it.

Step 2: Read the Intended Message

Only by understanding what the intended message is behind common negative emotions will you be better able to cope with them. Going past the effects of these emotions and extracting the messages encoded within grants you the power to make the necessary changes. For example, anger surfaces when a rule or standard, especially one that is closely associated to your values and beliefs, has been violated by others, or perhaps even yourself.  To free yourself from the shackles of anger, you can disrupt it by asking what circumstance led you to be angry, what you can take away from this episode and how you can communicate the importance of these standards (which makes you unique) so they will not be violated by people again.

Step 3: Take Responsibility

Despite addressing a brewing emotion and grasping the intended message, it is not sufficient to change the state of mind just yet. You will have to take full responsibility for harbouring that thought, which leads you to feel in that particular manner. Only by doing so will you be able to progress towards shifting your state of mind away from the undesirable one. While you may not be the cause in the chain of events which placed you in that state, but you can and have the right to choose if you want to be affected by it. For example, someone may taunt you and try to make you angry, but you have the right to decide if you WANT to be angry. It is a choice you can utilise; option you can exploit; a power which you can wield.

Step 4: Rationalise

This final step to liberate you from the negative state will only work after you have gone through the first three steps. To finally be able to change your state of mind to the desired one that you wish to be in, you will have to justify it with facts, figures and proofs. Only by rationalising and straightening out your thoughts can you find freedom from the cage of negativity. Try asking yourself the following questions when being affected by negative emotions.

• Is this a one-time event or one that has been continuously repeated?

• Is the event triggered by similar catalysts?

• Is this situation beyond your capability to handle?

At first, you will find it hard to go through all the four processes and you may be stuck along the way. But with regular practice, you will move through them with ease and within a shorter time frame each time. Once you are able to do that, you will find that you can actually save yourself a lot of time coming to a conclusion or gaining closure to move on, time which otherwise you will spend dwelling in the negative state.


I hope the 4 steps above will be of use to you! :)

If you’d like to make a bulk order of Jacky’s new book ‘Tame Your Emotions’, head over to

To connect with Jacky on Facebook, go to

To win an autographed copy of ‘Tame Your Emotions’, head over to

~ Grace :)

Interview with Kenneth Kwan

1) Share with us about how you came to be a ‘Motivational Team Strategist’ and how you overcame the challenges you faced when entering the speaking & training industry at a relatively young age.

I started at age 27 with an intense desire to inspire people. It had taken me many years to find the answer to the question of “What do I really want to do in life?”, and finally I managed to answer it and join this industry.

It was really tough because nobody was interested in hiring a young trainer. In fact, there is a lot of bias against young trainers, who are thought to be immature and lacking in experience. Why would people need to listen to me? I was new and young and a nobody. But I knew clearly that I wanted to serve corporate clients, despite having no ‘track record’ to show.

Thankfully, my first MNC client actually gave me a chance. I remember presenting the proposal to four managers. I went without a name-card nor brochures and only had a simple typewritten proposal with me. I just went and shared about what I could do for them, and the results I could guarantee. They hired me, loved the program so much that they duplicated it for other departments and the rest is history.

I started the business when I’d just gotten married too. I’d worked for just two and a half years previously and whatever meagre savings I had was used to repay my overseas study loan. Then I got into debt again from buying a house and getting married. Needless to say, those were tough times. Those first few years, all my life savings were wiped out. For many months, I had to pay for my housing loan using cash ($498) because my CPF was wiped out.

I survived on a couple of hundred dollars a month. I ate at home, I ate a lot of instant noodles, and sometimes just plain bread. At one point, I had only $22 left. And I knew that things had to change. I cannot just survive. I need to prosper.

One interesting thing I noticed about myself is that I gave up everything just to pursue my dreams and future but I was not happy. Then I realized that passion alone is not enough. It has to put food on the table and it must be sustainable.

2) I know you to be someone with lots of positive energy. What do you do to put yourself in a positive state?

My philosophy in life is that in anything that we do, we can decide on the state we will be in. Why not decide that it is going to be exciting and life-changing? Every time I do something, i will look at what I can learn, how I can grow, and how I can enjoy the whole process, and this makes work a lot of fun! Thus, when I’m on stage, when people see me, they see me with so much energy and so much life that I just transform the whole environment that I’m in.

I started emceeing at age 16 with a Christian youth organization and I realized that on stage, you need to adopt a different persona. You have to go up there and remember it’s all about the audience, and all about how you transfer the energy down to the audience. The stage experience I gained through the different gigs, like emceeing for tele-matches, dinner and dance programs, beauty pageants, and even game shows helped me a lot when I started in the training business. Little did I know, back then, that all the things I did when I was much younger was to prepare me for my future.

I have also learnt that people are generally attracted to people with high energy and drive. If you have energy, you will be noticed. People will watch your actions and sometimes are drawn to what you believe and do. The best part about having high energy is that it rubs off on people and they will naturally get energetic and excited as well.

Be in a positive state, decide what kind of energy you want to manifest and remember that you can influence your environment if you are energetic.

3) You’ve won an award – the JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World Singapore. Tell us about the interview questions which you’ve described as “tough” and “intense” and why you think you won this award. 

It was a very tough interview session. There were 8 people there – from the business federation, Dr Fatimah Latiff, Eunice Olson (our previous NMP), people from the business industry, even professors from our universities!

I got ripped apart, metaphorically. It was a very humbling experience when they asked, “Why do you deserve to win the award? Why you, and not somebody else? You give talks, I also give talks, why you?”

I think it’s about making an impact and how do we consistently make an impact on society. I think I won them over with my passion and demonstration to them of my ability to be of influence and also being able to deliver results from my work as well.

Since I started training about 7 years ago, I have spoken to numerous corporate clients and trained in 8 different countries, to over 7500 people. If you asked me when I first started – did I ever dream that this will happen? The answer is ‘no’. All I know is that when you do something that you are passionate about and you constantly lift yourself to a higher standard of excellence, you can only go upwards and onward.

4) You’ve mentioned that employees feel happier when they are “winning” at work. What does this entail and what can employers do to help employees feel they are winning?

There are actually many ways to reward a person. There are so many people at work who are just very tired of work, deluded, and sometimes they also ask themselves what they are doing here.

We have to help people see the purpose in their work, feel that they are making a difference, and that whatever they are doing leads to a larger purpose. If the bosses, leaders or managers can help employees see that, the staff will definitely go the extra mile. But how do people who, for instance, do the paperwork or warehousing, feel engaged and that there is a purpose in what they are doing?

Here’s a story about Tom Shoes, a very popular brand in America… They have a simple concept: when you buy one pair of shoes, they will donate one pair of shoes to the children in South America who don’t have shoes. If you work with them for more than 2 years, they will actually send you to South America to distribute the shoes to the people. They will pay for your expenses in order for you to physically give the shoes away.

I’ve seen videos where people just cry upon realizing that whatever they are doing right now leads to a bigger purpose. So that’s what you must do for employees. You must create meaning for their work. Help them find meaning in what they are doing right now and show them how it matters to the organization, and to the society at large.

Companies can help their employees win at work by helping them discover that what they do means something, has helped people or even changed the way people do things. If your employees feel that they do things that contribute to a higher purpose, they will feel more engaged at work.

You can help employees win at work by helping them feel that they are making progress too. For instance, help customer service staff see that their work has brought about progress, e.g. if the satisfaction ratings are within your performance indicators, the volume of sales transactions has increased, or that the goals that they set at work have been fulfilled. Like in a soccer game, teams usually play better when there is a scoreboard that tracks their progress. If there is no scoreboard, they tend to just play for fun.

Consistently recognise your staff when they demonstrate excellence in their work as this helps them know that what they do matters to the company. Help your people feel that they are making a positive influence and winning at work, and they will go all out and do their best.

5) Give us some tips on how we can feel inspired at work, and what to do when we have colleagues we dislike but still have to work with as a team.

How do you feel inspired at work? It’s a difficult question to answer because everybody has different inspiration points. What works for you may not work for me. And it’s very important, first of all, to be very self aware – know what excites you and drives you. That is the key to a lot of things. For example, I’m a person who likes to drive things, create things and influence people. If I do that, I am extremely satisfied.

One way to help me feel more motivated in life is to watch a lot of inspirational movies. My favorite movies are Braveheart, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Bucket List, Click, etc. Even reading books on such topics help a lot as well.

So what inspires you?

It could be an inspirational song. For me, it’s Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’. The lyrics are very inspiring as well.

What are the things you can constantly listen to or watch to keep you motivated?

Working Together With People You Dislike

If people really hate each other, there’s no way we can have a high performance team. I tell my clients that they have to sit down, share about their differences and ask themselves about what they want out of this working relationship.

People tend to focus on the unhappiness, the anger, what they had to go through as a result of the unhappy circumstances, etc. While it is important to acknowledge that all those things happened, what is next? What do they want to have happen after that? Most people generally want to work it out and move forward, but do not want to bring this up openly with their colleague.

If the two people that are having difficulty working together are not going to speak to each other, it is just a matter of time before they head towards disaster. Remember, this will not be just between two persons, it will drag the rest of the team members down as well.

So what can be done? Firstly, understanding personality types is very helpful in explaining why a person acts in a certain way. I use personality profiling to help people become more self- aware of their own actions and to be aware of others as well – what makes another person frustrated, or happy, etc. Thus, they learn to be appreciative and empathetic towards each other.

Team-building helps people really bond and decide that, at the end of the day, they should work together for the team, and that when the team wins, we all win as well. A team building retreat can help people bond, have shared experiences, spend time just interacting beyond professional work, chill out, share their personal moments together, and all these help in building the team camaraderie and team spirit.

My advice is this can be done through team building or other activities, but you must have the time for people to spend together meaningfully, a time when people can talk openly, without fear of backlash, without fear of what other people would say, but just share openly, and also have fun together as a team. If you have any activities that fulfill all these criteria, I can guarantee you that this team will slowly grow to care for each other.