Hi and welcome to my blog. I'm an American living in Sydney and working as a Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Writer. I specialise in helping people 'Reinvent Themselves', having done so myself both personally and professionally several times over.

I'm 48, divorced and having fun dating again (really for the first time).

I am a dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner and do a daily TM meditation. I've done lots of personal development and am a Senior Leader for Robbins Research Institute and a Master Neuro Strategist and NLP Practitioner through Steve Linder's, SRI Training. I'm also currently studying a Certificate in Strategic Intervention through the Robbins Madanes Training Institute.

I strive every day to incorporate what I gain on the yoga mat and the meditation cushion with what I learn from Tony, Steve, Cloe and all of the others within the Robbins and SRI communities with my very full on daily life. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but I always learn something. I hope that what I’m learning can help or at least entertain others.

Work Life

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Blog has Moved!

Hi and thanks for following my blog. I've moved it to incorporate it into my website and for better updating. Please now follow me here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yoga and Cravings

The sun absolutely glistened on the water as I drove my scooter away from yoga and towards the ocean at Bondi. I wish I could have stayed but I did pull over for a minute or so to take it in before heading back to Woollahra. It was truly beautiful.

As was yoga this morning. First day back since starting back on Fat Flush. It was hard but not as hard as I had anticipated. My body, after over 3 years of consistent practice and 4 months in India last year, is strong and supple. I only did about 2/3 of the practice (through Navasana for the Ashtangis out there) and only single jumpbacks instead of my normal double. But it felt good! Pushing up from plank, the thing I'd most worried about...(after all this is the girl that took a year to do her first pushup in yoga) was easy. Forward bends easy. Standing poses a bit difficult, I've lost some muscle mass in my legs, and Navasana was the hardest. But I feel confident I'll be back to where I was before the holidays within a week. Backbends even felt good. And I did all 7 shoulder stands for the first time since injuring my neck in October. No pain. Yeah!

I think one of the reasons coming back was easier than normal was because I have been treating my body so well! I felt light. Not at all sluggish like I usually do if I don't practice in awhile.

That got me thinking. If it feels so good to treat you body so well why do we spend so much time abusing it with sugar, alcohol, too many carbs and other bad things? We know if feels good to do the right things, yet we still crave the wrong ones.

Now, I had personal experience with really severe cravings a few days ago when my body reacted negatively to the spelt bread I was eating (I've switched to sweet potatoes for the last 2 days with no side affects).

That kind of craving, that physical craving is like being possessed. You want something so bad you would compromise almost anything to get it. At least that's what it felt like at the time.

But there are other kinds of cravings as well. Emotional cravings. Cravings for ritual. I know, for instance that I crave wine, not because I particularly like the taste of it (with the definite exception of a nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on a hot day). But I crave how the wine makes me feel; relaxed and happy. I also crave the ritual of sharing a bottle with a good friend and having a good conversation or of sipping a glass when I'm in the kitchen taking my time cooking a nice dish.

I know there are ways to change your cravings for these rituals or to substitute that behaviour for other behaviour that's less harmful to the body. But do I want to do that? This is what I'm grappling with right now.

Well, not right now. Right now I'm enjoying a veggie fritata, roasted sweet potato and my one cup of organic coffee with Stevia plus. And right now, that's perfectly satisfying to me on this lovely, sunny, summers day in Sydney.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Operation Inner Thigh (Ladies, you know what I'm talking about)!

Okay, it's time for "Operation Inner Thigh". Part of my journey, as some would know, has been losing 47 lbs (22 kilos) 5 years ago and being able to keep it off (and curing myself of life-long, debilitating allergies and asthma in the process). Interestingly I never even considered the possibility of regaining any of it, which is why, I think ,I've had so much success in maintaining that weight. Until 6 months ago.

All of a sudden, I started to notice a subtle weight gain. That subtle weight gain turned into 7 lbs / 3 kilos. Too much! Time to take action.

Now I can attribute this to several factors and, in reality it's probably a combination of all of these. In June I moved to another apartment and bought a scooter. I started riding everywhere, whereas before I was doing a lot more walking, even if it was only to / from public transport. Even though I do 2 hours of Ashtanga Yoga a day it doesn't seem to be enough exercise for me. So, back to public transport, or at least a 20 minute power walk around the park close to my house.

I also became somewhat careless in what I was eating. Started 'treating myself'' more than ever. Isn't it interesting that the things we 'treat ourselves' with actually do more harm than good? Just what part of ourselves are we 'treating'? Certainly not our bodies. We're treating our emotions, our psychology. In many cases we're comforting ourselves.

Anyway, I digress. Most of the time I found myself eating sweets daily, instead of every once in awhile. I've eaten very healthy for the last 20 years but I let my sugar intake really go up and probably started eating more carbs again than I had been.

And then there is the fact that I'm 48 and my hormones are changing. Although I'm not noticing any changes (and I attribute that to my healthy diet and regular exercise) they are changing none the less.

So, what to do? Easy! Time for The Fat Flush Plan. It's a high protein, low carb way of eating that balances hormones and blood sugar and eliminates cravings. It's how I lost the initial weight and I know it works.

The first two weeks of Fat Flush are really a liver and lymph loving cleanse. I sailed through that and took off almost 8 lbs. The original 7 I wanted to lose plus. So that got me thinking...

Hmmmm, could I lose even more? Could I, at long last, lose the last bit of fat around my tummy and, more importantly, my portly inner thighs that have haunted me since I was a child... Especially after my high school sweetheart called me "pleasantly plump". 33 years and I haven't forgotten that comment!

Now, I'd never really considered going the extra mile the first time around. I reached a weight I was comfortable at and I was happy. I even braved buying a bikini for the first time in over 20 years last year (but that was right after 4 months in India when I weighed a wee bit lighter than my "comfortable weight"). Plus, I really didn't think I could lose all of it. Lets just say genetics are not my friend in this area.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't actually need to lose the weight. By any standards I'm well within a healthy weight range and I've had several men comment on how great I look recently (two even told me I looked better naked than clothed...but that's another blog post). I was thinner than I ever thought I'd be. That's why I never thought about 'going the extra mile' or at least 2 inches.

I had a limiting belief that I couldn't do it. Interesting.

Now, I'm a highly trained Neuro Strategist and studying to become a Certified Strategic Interventionist...so I know what to do with limiting beliefs.

Bonk! Knocked on it's head, the possibility of inner thighs that don't rub together became positively intoxicating.

So, instead of going on to phase 3 of Fat Flush (the maintenance plan and how I've pretty much eaten for the last 5 years...bar the recent naught treats), which was my original intention, I'm now doing Phase 2...slowly adding 'friendly' carbs back into my diet and continuing weight loss. The only thing left to lose is tummy and thigh weight. I figure I have another 2 - 5 lbs. THIS should be an interesting journey!

Well, the universe works in very mysterious ways! Because my decision to do this uncovered a food sensitivity I didn't know I had...and possibily another cause of my weight gain. Food sensitivies, according to Fat Flush, are the #2 cause for 'Hidden Weight Gain'.

I didn't have any cravings at all past Day 1, Phase 1. Wasn't hungry, headachy or tired. Felt great! And I was really excited to add in 1 serving of my favourite toast in the morning. Healthy, sprouted Spelt toast. I've eaten it since living in Oz a year ago.

And whammo! No sooner did I finish it than I started craving more. Interesting...that hadn't happened before. I wonder what it means? No other side affects though...until the next day, yesterday.

Same thing. Piece of toash. Whammo! Cravings galore. All day! And this time accompanied by gas and bloating. The cravings got so bad that I was a wild woman by 7:30 last night and went to the store to buy popcorn. I slathered it with butter and salt and enjoyed every single bite!

Now a word about cheating. I consicously chose to cheat, knowing that I'd clean up my act the next day (today) and cut out the bread. Because I was consciously doing it (and willing to accept the circumstances) it was very freeing and without guilt! When people cheat on things like this they often feel guilty about it. It's my belief that the guilt itself can be very detrimental because of the stress it causes. So my advice: if you choose to cheat, do it with gusto and enjoy every moment of it.

Until you don't. I went to sleep feeling fairly miserable. Overstuffed, bloated, lethargic. And I woke up feeling the same way.

But that's okay. I learned something. And now I can use this experience to get rid of my popcorn eating habit (even on phase 3), something I've been toying with for a long time. If for no other reason that it's hell on dental work.

And today no bread, no cravings. I'll add in a sweet potato this afternoon after most of the yucky stuff leaves my system and see how I do with that.

I'm really excited about this. It's a goal I can't possibly fail. I'm not attached at all to the outcome. I'll still be happy at my current weight. But I'm learning something in the process and that's always good!!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goal Setting

I've had a few people ask me about my goal setting process since I posted the last post on my own goals. So I wrote an article about it for a couple of Newsletters to which I regularly contribute and thought I'd post it here as well.

Goal Setting that Works!

You're feeling fresh and new, buoyant with energy from the New Year, New Decade! This year is going to be different! This year you're going to follow through and make the changes in your life you've been talking about for ages. You're going to get that new job, shed those extra kilos, find a new relationship, start that novel, take some classes, go on that dream holiday (oh, wait...is this last one a goal or is it a reward? More on this later).

But how many of us have set goals or made New Year's resolutions only to find ourselves quickly going back to old habits, reneging on our promises to ourselves or just plain giving up? I know I have! Until I came up with this process that really worked for me.

Most people have heard of that Harvard MBA study about the small percentage of a graduating class that wrote down their goals. Many of the graduates never even looked at their goals again, yet that small percentage achieved much more than the considerably larger percentage of graduates that leaped perilously into their future without direction. Whether truth or urban legend, the message of the story is a good one: you can achieve more if you have well-defined goals. However there is something missing! A structure that helps you not only choose goals that are worth working or playing for and but also gives you an action plan to help you make them become real.

That's why this process works while others typically fail.

Brainstorm, Evaluate, Define

A robust goal setting process should start with brain storming. This is your chance to really be creative and crazy, think and dream big! Write down everything that comes to mind (don't worry, you can and will cross many of these ideas out later). The point is to get everything down on paper and have this be a fun process.

Great. Now that you have a gazillion goals on paper, how do you know which ones to choose, to really work on? Which ones can you make real? This is where the evaluation process comes in. And the first step in this process is to decide which items on your list are goals and which are rewards. A goal should stretch you or change you in some way. A reward is just that...a present to yourself. So, while one of your goals for this year might be to take a dream holiday, perhaps that's better used a reward for having accomplished one or more of your goals. So start a separate list of rewards.

The next step in the evaluation process should not be an intellectual exercise, but rather an emotional one. Why? Because people may take initial action based on a good idea, but they will only sustain that action based on a good feeling. So rate each goal that you've written down 1 - 5 based on how excited you feel about this goal. Completely subjective. Would accomplishing this really, truly make you happy? If it doesn't light you up enough for you to assign it at least a 3 cross it off. Then go back and re-evaluate the 3's. Are they 3's because you couldn't make up your mind how excited you were? What's missing? Does it need to be restated, does the time frame need to change? If you can't get it to truly move to a 4 cross it off.

So, now you're left with only those goals that really, truly excite you! Now it's time to wrap more emotion around them by thinking of a higher purpose for the goal. The what is not nearly as important as the why. Here's a hint...the why will almost always be something that helps you grow or helps you to contribute to others. If you can't come up with a big enough why you might want to re-evaluate whether it should be a reward, be on your list at all or perhaps be saved for another time in your life.
Once you've pared your goals down to those that really excite you and give you a higher purpose it's time to define them. Now, I'm sure you've all heard about smart goals so I won't spend a lot of time on this. But suffice to say that goals really should be:
- Specific
- Measurable
- Attainable
- Realistic
- Time bound (have a time frame attached to it).

How will you know you've achieved your goal unless it's defined in this way?


Now it's time to bring your rewards back in. Make achieving your goals fun by attaching rewards to them. They can be big rewards (like your dream holiday) or small ones (like going to dinner with a friend). They can cost money or be completely free. It's up to you. Whatever will make it fun, make it worth working or playing for and help to keep you on track daily. After all, as one of my mentor's Keith Cunningham says, it's not the first, big decision you make that creates change. Rather it's the myriad of small, daily decisions that you make to keep yourself on track and moving towards your goals.


And now it's time to set up a structure. A plan for daily action to achieve your goals. At the very least do what Keith Cunningham suggests...start each day by re-writing your goals. That keeps them truly fresh and alive. Remind yourself why you're going after them and what the rewards are for attaining them. Get excited every day about pursuing them to keep yourself on track.

Once you're excited about them, plan them into your day. Schedule some daily action (or at the very least weekly) to keep you moving forward. You can even assign mini rewards to these daily tasks.


And then celebrate! Big and small steps. Take advantage of those rewards and be sure to remind yourself why you're giving your self that reward: because you've achieved your goals! You'll become addicted to achieving big steps and small if you really take time to celebrate. This will then condition the behaviour until it becomes habit.


And finally, I believe that every goal setting process should end with gratitude. Write down all of the things that you are grateful for now. All the things you have, are and do that make you happy. And don't forget all the people whom you love and who love you. You might do this only once, or better yet every night before you sleep.

Because gratitude begets more things to be grateful for.

Happy Goal Setting!

Goals and Grattitude

I'm on a roll! Second blog post of the day! I believe that two of the most important aspects of goal setting are to make them public and to be grateful for what you already have. To that end I thought I'd share both with you.

Firstly, my goals for 2010. I'm counting on my blogging community to hold me accountable for these! Please feel free to post comments and challenge me / question me. :)

In no particular order:

- To accumulate $1 million in net assets by 31/12/2012. A bit of background on this one...When I was married I was able to build our net worth to just at $1 million within 3 years through property investment. To me this was nothing short of ASTOUNDING!!! For two reasons: I came into the marriage 4 years earlier in debt and, more importantly, my family history and psychology was such that I wasn't deserving of wealth. Although we were far from poor growing up, we were far from rich. Lower middle class more like it...but we had the mind set of being poor. So much so that when I was 14 I went to my best friend's house for dinner one time and her mother cooked steaks for us because she didn't think my family could afford a lot of meat. So I had a lot of negative psychology to overcome!

When I divorced my husband we split our assets 50/50 so my net worth halved. Added to that spending most of 2008 traveling and starting a new business in 2009 and enrolling in every course under the sun to learn how to be a kick ass coach and trainer has depleted my resources even more. So, although I'm not starting from scratch, I am starting from a significantly less advantageous position than I was in 2 years ago. But I did it once before and I can do it again. And it should be even quicker this time (so the three year time frame is a bit of a cushion).

- To seed that nest egg I have an amount of income (a REAL stretch goal) that I will attain this year.

- I've broken this yearly amount down into quarterly and monthly goals. To make this month's goal I need to add 3 new clients and to fill a group mentoring session. I've added one new client already and am formulating the session I want to kick off with. I'm going to be mentoring mid - senior executive women who are in the process of planning the second half of their lives. Women that, like many of us, are dealing with career, health and relationship issues. Women who might be asking, "Is this it?" or "What's next". I'm very excited about this as I see an important theme developing around me...women truly coming into their own and taking more power, making more decisions. But how to do this and stay true to your feminine? Ahhh, there's the juice!

- 135 lbs / 61 kg's by 28/2/10

- Eat in a way that I know will sustain optimum health and fitness 80% of the time (I plan to live to be 104 or more...and I'd like to do this with optimum health).

- Drop back by myself by 31/3/10

- Be able to jump back from Bakasana position by 30/6/10

- Do 2 "Date with Destiny" (Tony Robbins) events as a Senior Leader and assist with Steve Linder's Strategist and Master Strategist courses here in Sydney.

- Volunteer for 2 - 3 hours / week.

- Develop a wider circle of friends whom I form close relationships with. To that end I plan to host "incredible persons" nights where I invite several "incredible people" from all areas of my life to my house for a dinner party. I will do these every 6 weeks. I will also host game nights at my house just for fun at least once / quarter.

Now for the gratitude:

This is soooo easy. I have so much to be grateful for. 2009 was an astounding year in so many ways. How lucky am I to live in Sydney, Australia? It's a beautiful city with mostly great weather and largely free from the fear mongering, sound byte listening, deeply polarised culture that has become the United States. And I'm just a stone's throw from my spiritual home, New Zealand. Ahhhhh, one of my rewards for meeting my goals this year is a trip back.

I'm also grateful that I've been lucky enough to be able to combine my job (how I earn money) with my career (something that has a path and that I learn and grow with and from) with my vocation (my passion, my purpose, what I was made for). I was made to help people and discovering / developing my career as a coach and trainer has been fulfilling beyond description. I'd truly do this job for free (and do do a lot of pro bono stuff). The job, career, vocation concept is one that was shared with me and a small group of people at Wealth Mastery by Keith Cunningham. He believes that people are lucky to have 2 / 3 be aligned and that it is the truly blessed individual who has all three aligned. I believe I'm truly blessed.

I'm so grateful for my clients. It's such a privilege to be let into people's worlds every day. To find out amazing things about them, their dreams, goals and aspirations and to do what I can to help them achieve those things. I am truly awed after every session.

I'm grateful every day on my yoga mat. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my Ashtanga practice truly is a miracle.

I'm grateful to be as healthy and fit as I am. I look and feel better at 48 1/2 than I ever have in my life.

I'm grateful for what this year has taught me about dating and men and the confidence it's given me in those areas.

Funnily enough, I got my divorce decree just started thinking about how grateful I am for my marriage and my ex-husband. Brad is a great guy and a good friend and I learned so much about myself having been married to him. I think we both helped each other grow in ways that would not have been possible had we not been married.

I'm incredibly grateful for the teachers in my life. Starting with my Dad. He's gone now, but I feel his influence every day. I wouldn't be who I am without him. My mentors who fundamentally shifted my thinking about who I am and my place in the world, Mr Graewin (sp?) my 9th grade science teacher, Dennis Morgan, my first General Manager at the Hermitage Hotel when I worked there in the early '80's and Peggy Page, my first Area Manager at Robert Half. And my most recent teachers who are teaching me things about myself and others and giving me incredible tools to work with others and change lives, Tony Robbins, Steve Linder, Cloe Madanes and Keith Cunningham. This year has been and incredible year of learning for me.

I'm grateful for the awesome peer groups that I'm involved with: the Robbins, SRI and Thought Leaders Communities. As Steve and Tony say, "Show me the quality of people you spend your time with and I'll show you the quality of your life." My life is pretty damn awesome!

I'm grateful for my apartment. The wonderful Woollahra refuge that's in the coolest neighborhood in Sydney, free from noise of the city and a beautiful space.

I'm grateful for my Aunt and Uncle and the unconditional love they've shown me through hard times.

And last but not least, I'm grateful for my fiends old and new. The ones in my life that continue to challenge and inspire me. Those who are there for me and have adopted me as family.

So, as you define and refine your goals for 2010 remember to stop and think about what you're grateful for. Gratitude begets more things to be grateful for!

A New Decade

Okay, first New Year's resolution is to update my blog more. I've committed to this after receiving a lovely note from a woman named Christine from half way around the world telling me she found my words inspiring. Wow! Heady stuff. So I logged on for the first time in a month to find that I now have 3 followers! Thanks guys!

Part of why I haven't written anything recently is that I, like most of the rest of the world, have been super busy over the holidays. The other reason is that I kept trying to thing of something profound to say as a way to kick off not only a New Year but a new decade! Too much pressure!

But then I decided to take my own advice. The advice that I give to my clients all the time. Take action! It doesn't have to be the best action in the world or the ultimate action...just take action. Get moving....so here I go!

A bit of an update:

My yoga practice was going great until I went to Singapore for a Tony Robbins event, Wealth Mastery. It was my third Wealth Mastery but probably the most impactful in many ways. The speakers were outstanding and I really "got" a lot of what they said this time around. I'm rethinking my investment strategies a result...learning to trade stock / shares with the DMAS Trading System developed by Steve Linder and Foreign Exchange trading from Knowledge to Action out of the UK.

This was also my first Robbins event as a Senior Leader. I was very excited! We had 900 participants (more or less...they kept coming and going...something I'd never seen with Western audiences) and only 24 Trainers / Leadership. We were a small but mighty team and bonded so well. Truly worked as a team and did everything from running mics to turning on / off lights (we only had 4 crew).

I was good for the first few days but then time constraints got the better of me and I stopped my practice. It would only have been for a few days, but for the fact that I came back from Singapore with some sort of virus and barely got out of bed for a week!

But the week before and of Christmas I was back at it. Felt good to be on the mat! I'm starting to do shoulder stand again after my neck injury and that's feeling good. I'm still chickening out on dropping back by myself though. But my goal is to do it consistently by the end of March.

Unfortunately I'm sidelined from my practice again for the next 10 days. But this is self-imposed. Many of you know that I lost 22 kilos / 50 lbs 5 years ago and have kept it off. Until 6 months ago. I started to notice small but stead weight gain. My clothes don't feel that much different, but when I got on my scales I realised that I'd gained 9 lbs / 4 kg's in the last 6 months. And put 2 inches back on everywhere. Soooo,

Back on The Fat Flush Plan! This is the diet I used to take all of my weight off in 6 months. The first two weeks is a cleanse where you cut out all carbs, alcohol, yeast and most spices. It cleanses your liver and lymphatic system. I feel better the first week than I did the first time around...but am losing weight much more slowly...to be expected with only 9 lbs to lose. Actually...I'm going for 10 to get down to the unheard of (for me) weight of 135 lbs / 61 kgs. I'm 5'7" and that should be my ultimate. At 48 though I'm not sure that's attainable or sustainable. But I would like to have flat stomach and thighs that don't go bump in the night.

During this first phase the only exercise you can do is power walking...20 minutes per day. So I've been religiously doing that. And not even attempting yoga (I made that mistake the first time around and almost passed out). But another 2 week holiday won't kill me and it will only take a week or so to re build the muscle I will inevitably lose.

This experience though has helped me to realise just how cavalier I'd become about what I was eating. Wayyyy too much sugar and more carbs than my body can really handle. When it comes to weight, my genetics are stacked against me...with my mother and sister both being morbidly obese, along with both Grandmothers when they were alive. My father was overweight for all but the last 20 years of his life as well. So, I've really got to watch it.

Now my struggle is, to drink or not to drink! I decided to give up alcohol awhile back...and then decided that that was a bad idea. I do like to have the occasional glass of wine with friends. Unfortunately with my addictive personality that turns into buying a bottle to enjoy at home one night...and then several times / week. Not that I drink much...1 - 2, 3 max glasses. But still. It's not congruent with my lifestyle.

So...do I go cold turkey or do I use my NLP skills to change the behaviour of drinking at home. Still deciding on that one. Would love to hear your thoughts!

My last post was about dating. Not much to tell in that arena over the last month. In fact...nothing. I decided to take myself off of the online site I was on for two reasons. First, I was tired of meeting nice guys with whom I had no connection. Second, I realised that I was using that as a shield. I could hide behind doing a bunch of coffee dates and feel as though I was making progress.

My new strategy? If anyone has ever read one of my favourite books, "God on a Harley" you'll guess already! Do the things I like to do and do more of it. Get involved socially, surround myself with cool people doing cool things and meet lots of like minded men and women. Not only will I meet men who are better suited to me, I'll also make more friends. And who doesn't need more friends??

To that end...I met some really cool people at the recent Thought Leaders Conference in December. Definitely some people I'll meet up with again now that the calendar has turned over and people are starting to go back to work. I'm also thinking about taking up golf, will definitely take photography courses, and do more volunteer work. It's going to be fun!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Learning to Date at 48: Online Exploits

The post below “Learning to Date at 48: Inner Journey” explains my inner journey in getting ready to start dating again after separating from my husband 18 months before. This one will talk about my dating exploits.

So, if you’ve read my post below you’ll know why I decided to go the online route when I started dating again. I only really started getting out there in March of this year. My goal was to meet at least 1 new guy a week. So, I wrote a profile, took some pics and off I went.

The way my online site works is that, if you find someone you’re interested in you can send them a ‘kiss’ for free. The kisses have one of several pre-defined contact lines. The recipient of the kiss can reply with one of several pre-defined responses (positive, negative or tell me more). If it’s positive the sender of the kiss typically sends an email and the conversation begins. You can correspond for 30 days on that one email (which the sender has to pay for) and it’s totally up to you when you escalate contact to regular email, phone or meeting.

I try to email a few times to get a sense of what they’re like, maybe talk on the phone once and then meet them if I’m interested.

My ratio was about 1/15. I’d meet 1 out of 15 men that ‘kissed’ me. Like I said, I’ve probably had 40 first dates since March. Of those first dates exactly 4 moved to 2nd dates, 3 to third dates and only 1 past that (more about him later).

And after 8 months of this, here are my observations so far. Please men, feel free to weigh in in the comments section...I’m sure women have their own idiosyncrasies, but since I’m not dating women I can only write about what I’ve found with men’s profiles. And fair is fair!

Okay, quick caveat...typical comments I get from people who have never done online dating when I tell them that I’m doing it is, “I’ve heard that people just lie in their profiles, they can’t be trusted” and “Only losers who can’t find dates any other way do online dating” (ouch!)

I have to point out that I’ve met some great men online, and a few have become good friends. One has become one of my best friends in Sydney.

I’ve only had 1 guy outright lie to me (his pics were at least 15 years old and he was at least 3 inches shorter and 30 kilos (about 70 lbs) heavier!

I have, however had men stretch the truth....literally! My rule of thumb is that if I man is under 6’ tall you should subtract 1 - 3 inches from his height.

So, here are my observations:
Men take the path of least resistance. I got far more ‘kisses’ when I was online than I did when I was off. So I used to leave my profile up all of the time just so guys would see me as online. It wasn’t unusual to come home to 20 ‘kisses’ in my inbox.
A lot of men go fishing. They’ll ‘kiss’ you several times and never send an email. I think that’s rude.
If men only have 1 photo and it’s fuzzy it’s old.
If the men are wearing caps in all of their pics they’re bald (I NEVER thought I’d reach the stage in life where a man who still has all of his hair would be a rarity...but I have).
Men do lie about their height (see above).
Men’s interpretations of what constitute an ‘athletic’ body differ...and some greatly differ from my own interpretation.
Men don’t like ‘long email correspondences’. They prefer to meet straight off. This can be intimidating to a lot of women. So, men please be aware of that and women, stand your ground! This works for me though. I’d rather meet than talk on the phone. After 15 years in recruitment the phone to me spells work.
Men in their 20’s LOVE women in their 40’s. I’d say 1/3 of all ‘kisses’ I received was from young, good looking for the most part, guys. But Demi Moore I’m not. They were all declined.

All of the men I met have been interesting on some level. And, even though I may not have wanted to see them again, the hour I spent with them was not wasted in the vast majority of instances. The ones that I was disappointed by I should not have met and I knew that I shouldn’t have met them before I did. But every once in awhile I’ll convince myself that I’m too harsh and should give more people a chance.

But, if anyone has read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’ and knows about thin slicing, I can do that really really quickly with people, having spent 15 years in recruitment and having done a gazillion hours of personal development work. I trust my gut most of the time, and when I don’t I pay for it.

Now some quite funny experiences.

There was the guy I met the guy who was 5’6” instead of the 5’9” he claimed and had 15 year old (and much thinner) pics up. We sat down and started to talk (this was early on...now a days I’d say something like, “I’m sorry, you’re not what I ordered” and walk out). About 15 minutes into our conversation he asked how he was doing and if I’d see him again. I felt sorry for him, but told him no...there would be no second date.

Then there was the man who asked me on our third date (which occurred within 48 hours of our first date) how I’d feel about raising his children. That’s not even why I decided not to date him again, although to this day he thinks it is. Nice guy though and he seems to have found someone so good on him.

My absolute favourite though is the guy who texted me a picture of himself without a shirt on the night BEFORE we were supposed to meet. He was completely flabbergasted when I texted him back and told him I found that creepy and would be canceling our date.

Why so many first dates and not many past that you might be asking? Well, I’m the first to admit that I’m picky. I know what I want and won’t settle, not again. And first and foremost I want a strong, masculine man who brings out the feminine little girl in me. I want someone who can make me think, make me laugh and make my toes curl.

And the guy that went past the third date? While he did all of those, unfortunately he has the emotional maturity of a retarded knat to quote a teacher of mine.

And that finally ended once and for all last night when I did something I’ve never done in my life. I walked out of the restaurant we were eating in...before the main course came.

But this story actually illustrates the main learnings that I’ve gotten over the last few months and is the main reason that I’ve decided to include this part of my life in my blog.

I won’t go through the whole story here, and it is quite a story. But the high points are that this is a very masculine, self assured (cocky) guy who’s a rock star in business. Highly intelligent and great looking! On our first date he had me giggling like a school girl and I loved it! I hadn’t experienced that, well ever. My God it was like a drug! I couldn’t for one moment slip that masculine mask on, even when talking about business. He’d rip it right off of me.

He made me feel like the most special person on the planet when I was with him. Until he didn’t. And when things changed it hurt like hell. He got mean and manipulative. Not overtly. Very covertly. He could sell ice to Eskimos and convince you that the sky is green and grass is blue, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

But I did what most women do. I blamed myself and excused him. He’s troubled (and he is troubled...not the easiest of childhoods). I was somehow insufficient in how I was reacting and he just needed time. He / we had this great potential!!!!

But you know what? Unrealised potential amounts to nothing at all. And my biggest learning was to look at things as how they really are and not as how they could be.

My second biggest learning was what it feels like to be with a strong, masculine man. He set the bar for me and I’ll always be grateful for that. I’m also grateful that he showed me that I was enough (pretty, sexy, etc) to attract someone like that.

So, on with my search! I have a date with someone tomorrow. I’m breaking my first date rule of coffee or a drink only (quick get away) and I’m going sailing. I’m only breaking this rule because an opportunity to go sailing on Sydney Harbour is never to be missed.

I have someone else wanting to meet me (we’re talking tomorrow night for the first time). Not so sure about him.

Then there’s the two men that actually asked me out, without being online! OMG!!! One is a lovely man and I’ll probably go out with him at some point, but he’s not rocking my world. The other is rocking my world and we’ve had only a 5 minute conversation. I suspect he may be a bit of trouble though. But I’ve never been one to choose the easy path.