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Connecting Gippsland through positive storytelling.


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Co-founder, Michael Duncan shares that new clarity has allowed him to view things differently.

Oct 6, 2021

Words: Michael Duncan

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There are few things that frustrate me more than indecision.

For the past two editions, I’ve shared with you the challenges we’ve been having about our future viability. These challenges led us to three options, which I presented in our last edition (you can jump online and read them). I’ve always believed the worst decision is not to make a decision at all.

With that in mind...

There are no options: the show must, and will, go on!

“The show must, and will, go on!”

This depends on your perspective. We’re still experiencing lockdowns and many of our partners and supporters are still feeling the stress and financial hardship that ensues. I believe the change has come from realising it’s time to practice what we preach.

In our ‘day jobs’, the Gippslandia team are entwined with local businesses all across the region (and much further beyond). We all perform different roles to grow and support the business community. Through my own discussions with clients, I’ve been encouraging them to get up and keep moving. On the other side of this challenging period will be a far more resilient and successful business model. It’s time to heed our own advice.

From these business interactions, I've come to realise the greatest impact isn’t a financial one, it’s a mindset one. When you think about it, so many businesses started with nothing more than energy and an idea. Currently, our mindset and the freedom to think creatively and create movement have been hit.

Where do we go to get the energy to change that mindset?

Recently, I’ve taken some time to reflect on some of our previous articles, particularly this one by co-founder John Calabro, M=M+, which is best summarised for me by this quote:

The more people and businesses creating positive momentum, the sooner our little pocket of the world will prosper. When we work together to assist others to achieve positive momentum, the factors of success become exponential. This, in so many ways, reflects our intention with Gippslandia: to contribute to the improvement of our region by providing as many little encouraging pushes of positive momentum as we can.

Good point, John! Momentum... reflecting on my past two articles to grace this page, you’d be right in thinking we were paralysed by indecision. A paralysis that sabotaged momentum.

We needed to break free from it. Here’s what transpired to help free my thoughts:

— We received some great feedback from the community in response to last edition’s The Business Department.

— Amazing new partners jumped on board.

— We had a record number of subscribers join the Gippslandia family.

— I was able to create space to focus on my mindset.

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This last point is important. For a long time, I’ve followed the work of Brené Brown and Carol Dweck; they’re masters of mindset, being vulnerable and accepting imperfection. Through some podcasts, such as Dyl & Friends and The Academy of Imperfection, shared to me by a friend, I was able to reconnect and give more time to my mindset by listening to interviews with Emma Murray (High Performance Mindfulness), Hugh Van Cuylenburg (The Resilience Project) and Ben Crowe (Mojo Crowe).

As a result, the motivation has returned. The new clarity has allowed me to view things quite differently. Below are the three decisions that have had the biggest impact. I share them with you hoping they may help you, as unless you create some space for yourself, no advice will have the opportunity to be effective. Isolation or lockdown doesn’t create space, nor does being busy. Like my fictional golf mentor Chubbs Peterson of Happy Gilmore fame (yes, I just linked Happy Gilmore into a business article), “You need to go to your happy place”. From there, the better outcomes will flow.

Accept failure – There is an old YouTube clip with Denzel Washington called ‘Fall Forward’. I’ve always enjoyed it. To me, it doesn’t mean I accept failure, but it redefines failure. For those interested, my definition has become, “The art of making mistakes or things not working out – and learning nothing from the process or result”. With that definition, it becomes quite hard to fail.

“ becomes quite hard to fail.”

Work with what you can control – I think it may have been in a Ben Crowe interview that I heard, “Pressure doesn’t exist unless you're focusing on things you can’t control”. When we pull back and focus on what’s in front of us, what we can impact, the world becomes a simpler place (and a lot less stressful).

Reconnect with your ‘why’ – This is the most substantial point for Gippslandia, which Simon Sinek brilliantly sums up in his book Start with Why. I’d like to credit our talented editor, Tim Leeson, for this one. It was late, I was tired and the words went something like, ‘Tim, my vision is to be walking into a café to have coffee with my adult children (our eldest is currently eight years old), and picking up a copy of Gippslandia in there, and us all being inspired by it – without even knowing one was going to print”.

It’s a powerful ‘why’. To fully unpack it would take more pages than I have to work with. Succinctly, dear reader, here’s what matters:
We’re reconnecting with why we started this publication, we’re focusing on what we can control, and we’re not going anywhere.

If there is something in particular that you wish to know or discuss, please get in touch and I’ll either address it here in a future column or via email at

Gippslandia - Issue No. 20

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