Book Review: Penguins Can’t Fly by Jason Kotecki

Penguins Can't Fly by Jason Kotecki

It looks like a book for children, what with the too-cute illustrations and how it’s just the right size as a picture book for kids. But this book ‘Penguins Can’t Fly’ is quite a page-turner. Jason Kotecki is an artist, author and professional speaker who has selected 40 “rules” to include in this book, and he encourages us to break them all, and offers good reasons why this should be done too! And I’ll start by breaking a few rules myself:

“if you obey all the rules you miss all the fun” – katharine hepburn

This book might seem less-than-serious to snobbish readers, but it offers up pearls of wisdom in a most palatable manner. I won’t be able to reproduce all those pages here (some rules are not meant to be broken, unfortunately) but here are some takeaways I got from reading this book:

  1. Every single day is a holiday. It’s just that most days, what to celebrate is up to you.
  2. Pay attention to what your inner child says.
  3. Go ahead and eat dessert first – that’s what you promised yourself as a kid; that when you’re all grown-up, you’ll eat dessert before your meal. *reaches for pint of ice cream* Penguins Can't Fly by Jason Kotecki
  4. Celebrate playfulness. Dance in the rain like a child, hop into a puddle instead of skirting around it!
  5. It’s “okay to consume pizza, cake, or wine for breakfast”
  6. Mondays don’t stink – it’s your job. Change your attitude or change your job. “The REAL key to happiness (and so-called work-life balance) is not figuring out how to work less, but doing more work that matters.
  7. Should you be obsessed about being busy, or appearing to be busy, when you can proudly say “I haven’t been busy at all. I’m just taking life as it comes, enjoying it one moment at a time”? 😀
  8. Question all those rules.
  9. Write your own definition of success.
  10. Worried about wrinkles? Well… “no one ever died at the age of one hundred looking like a nineteen-year-old” !!!
  11. “If a dream is realistic, it’s not really a dream. It’s a to-do. If you want to be realistic, be realistic about your fears. After all, most of the things you worry about will never happen.”
  12. Why keep the fine china locked away till there’s a special occasion? Every day is special. Think about that family member who has passed on. Wouldn’t you give just about anything to have one more dinner with that person?
  13. Fact: We will all die with stuff on our to-do list.

And these are just some of the things that Jason shares in this really cool book. You should head out to a bookstore and get a copy, or order one online. I highly recommend that you read it. 🙂

Penguins Can't Fly by Jason Kotecki

What was most striking for me was that point about keeping the tableware till that fine day when there’s a special occasion. What if that day never comes? What if I die before that day comes? What if the house gets burnt down together with everything in it? Sobering thought, no? Why not understand that every day is special and worth celebrating, as today is a gift and tomorrow is not guaranteed?


This book retails at S$26.12 (before GST) in all good bookstores 🙂


Interview with Cindy Leong, Dating and Relationship Coach

Cindy Leong relationship coach

Cindy and I are from the same business networking group, and I dare say I’ve never met a coach quite like her. She’s a dating and relationship coach, life coach and business coach rolled into one and she dishes out advice which might seem unconventional at first, but then ends up making a lot of sense. For instance, she and her husband have no qualms sharing with each other and laughing about their past relationships, as they take each (failed) relationship as a point of reference for improvement, instead of the start of reminiscence. This runs contrary to what many relationship coaches say about past relationships being a “taboo topic”.

Cindy is also a huge fan of giraffes and has a Giraffe Room at home. Interestingly, the BTO flat she now resides in with her husband is the one which he had applied for together with his ex-girlfriend. Instead of feeling uncomfortable, Cindy is happy that she did not have to wait, like every other couple who applies for a BTO flat, for the keys. They did the name change in the application, and voila, she has skipped to the head of the queue. 🙂

Cindy and her first book:

Cindy Leong dating relationship coach

A cozy corner in the Giraffe Room:

Cindy Leong dating and relationship coach

Cindy says she likes the giraffe because it is “cheerful, chirpy, friendly”, and I’d say that somewhat describes her too. Having said that, know that she is a coach who will give you her no-holds-barred take on what you need to get done, and I get the impression she’ll give you the ass-kicking required to accomplish your goals too. *wink*

And here are my 5 questions for Cindy:

1) Is there really a Mr / Ms Right out there for everyone, or do we just learn to accept people as they are?

You have to first be the right one to attract the right one. Usually people go to a dating agency and state their demands. But if you are a level-2 chap and you want a level-10 girl, that’s impossible! Even if a level-10 girl is attracted to you, it’s likely for the wrong reasons.

What are these levels? They are from a socially agreed-upon kind of ‘scale’. In Psychology, we call this “Mate Value”. If you date someone with a lower mate value, you feel lousy about the relationship, and you don’t feel like bringing the person out with you.

It transcends beauty/looks as it’s also about the person’s character. (Check out this article:

For instance, if I believe my mate value is at least a 7, I won’t settle for a guy with a mate value of 1, who doesn’t work, has bad grooming, and is procrastinating all the time. Having said that, if you are a 10, and you happen to see the potential in a 7 or 8, then you might still take the chance. If a guy is generally a nice person, caring, and responsible, at about 5 or 6, but just does not have good grooming, you might still give it a go. When I first met my husband, he was just a 4 (to be very honest). Then when I got to know him better as a friend, his character is what attracts me, so that brings him to a 5 or 6. But the outward bit was still lacking. I suggested a revamp and he was open to the challenge. My point here is, it is important that he decides to make the change(s) out of his own will and motivation.

If a man is doing a revamp (or any change) just for you, he has just won himself the bullets to arm-twist you in the future. He may do it halfheartedly then when it backfires, he may blame you for how it doesn’t work. Most importantly, never go into a relationship or marriage expecting the other person to change.

2) What are the differences you’ve noticed between coaching men vs. coaching women?

Men are generally more defensive while women are more willing to spend and invest in their lives. I have to be brutally honest with the men, and give them the truth in an in-their-face manner. Most are not open to grooming sessions so I have to say something like “You tell me you are 32 years old. Can I be honest with you? You look like you are 38.” Yes, you have to just ‘give it to them’ in a straightforward manner. Only then will they wake up their ideas.

3) You conduct so many different workshops. Which is your favorite one?

The Enneagram workshop, because whatever the issue, we have to work on fixing what is internal first. For instance, a guy may be well-groomed and sweet to people but not “authentic” and doesn’t know what he wants so he still ends up in the wrong relationship. Many have to learn to be authentic.

And what is being authentic? I’ve met a lot of nice guys who are just nice but don’t portray the right image. They may be a 6 or 7 inside but portray a 2 on the outside. Others may just be 2s but portray themselves as 10s – that is simply lying and putting up a cover.

4) You’ve interviewed so many couples for your book ‘SuffeRing or ConqueRing – Happy Marriages in Singapore’. What’s the most important ingredient for a happy marriage, and do you also do marriage counselling?

It still boils down to communication and relationship management. Sometimes, problems are due to external factors such as a friend, job, boss, or mother-in-law. Communication and openness is key. For example, when the wife says “Your mom has been doing this…”, the husband should not ‘judge’ her or be offended (“Hey that’s my mom”). Instead, he can say something like “I’m sorry to know you are thinking this way. How can we solve this issue together?”

It’s important that no one’s views are discredited. Don’t demean or discredit your spouse as that usually leads to a marriage breaking down. Problems in marriages are usually caused by personality problems, and that’s where Enneagram can help.

I once helped a couple experiencing problems even after 10 years of marriage. The woman is a go-getter and the husband is the “chillax, ‎take it easy” kind. The wife often has a lot of expectations of the husband and he finds it hard to match up to her standards. She tends to get frustrated and the husband usually returns home late as a form of avoidance from possible conflicts. They were growing further and further apart. After 2 sessions of Enneagram coaching, they began to see the root of the problem. Both parties started to focus on each other’s strengths, and learnt about ways to affirm each other and work effectively as a team. The wife learnt not to impose her working styles on the husband but to use the lingo that motivates him. Their ‘near break-up’ marriage was restored.

Enneagram is about being versatile, operating in the other person’s ‘language’ and methods. And awareness of the various “types” is always the first step.

Sometimes people need help with their past baggages and require inner healing. They also have to clarify their life goals, learn how to be assertive about their view points, and fix their life before they go dating. I call this ‘Responsible Dating’. 🙂

5) You organize a very interesting dating event called ‘Dating In The Dark’ in which singles meet at a restaurant and dine in the dark. Any interesting stories to share?

Dating in the Dark

The feedback is usually very good. There are no shocks due to the prior screening which I do. I ensure their grooming is ok, and I handpick the people who attend. I will also meet those I don’t know first, and check if they can hold a conversation because it would be extremely awkward if they cannot talk during a date in the dark! Sometimes, I offer tips on what to wear to look presentable that day, so as to make that good impression last once the lights are switched on.

I’ll usually organize events at the more atas (high class) locations, such as the Fullerton Hotel. I do my best to push the envelope and come up with interesting events. Take my Improv Drama workshop, for example, it is one of my customer-centric events. It helps participants to be more artistic and engaging, qualities which Singaporeans tend to lack. Improv Drama offers an easy gateway to be creative and to be in touch with your emotions. Our society is not creative enough – there is definitely room for more creative expression and for people to better demonstrate their feelings.


Enneagram workshop

Thanks to Cindy’s recommendation, I’ve taken the Enneagram profiling test which comes with a total of 200 questions. In an upcoming post, I’ll share about the results and what I think of the coaching session with her. I do find her rates for 1-to-1 Coaching very affordable, especially if it helps you “Experience The Metamorphosis” (as in her company’s slogan). If you’re single and ready to mingle, here’s one site* you should check out:

Cindy Leong relationship coach

*There are recordings of the media interviews she has done previously. Listen to those and you may just pick up some very useful tips! 🙂

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! 😀 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! 😀

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?” 😀

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! 😀

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”. 😀 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?!!! 😛

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! 😀

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! 😀 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! 😀 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? 😀

“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! 😀

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! 😀