What It's About

TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Relationship, Leadership, Success, Life… it is ALL Service


For the past year, for the first time in my life, I’m constantly in conversations about relationships, leadership, success, and life that reveal a solitary theme: service for the win.

Service as in serving… as in giving… as in sacrificing… as in reflecting over one’s thoughts, attitudes, behaviours, and deeds.  Those who have great relationships, who are great leaders, who enjoy great success, they are all deeply committed to service.

What do I mean by “service”?

Those who are deeply committed to service would prefer to do the work than have others do the work for them.  Those who serve would prefer to be accountable than hold others accountable.  Those who serve expect little from others, but they expect a lot from themselves—but importantly, they don’t punish themselves for failures, they strive to do better.

Service is the opposite of entitlement. 
Service is the opposite of privilege.

Those who serve motivate others to kindness through their acts of service.  They serve with joy for the blessing they can be in doing simple things to make others’ lives better.

Marriages go better when husbands serve their wives.  Why not the other way around?  The default is wives already serve their husbands.  There is no better way to woo a wife than to do loving things, give time generously, give thoughtful gifts, give loving compliments, give warmth and affection.  Husbands who expect to be served will have unhappier wives.

Leaders are inspiring when they’re thoughtful, anticipating ways of giving to those in their care.  Leadership is not about the ‘privilege’ of being the ‘boss’.  There’s no service in lording it over people.  But when leaders serve, they provide a cogent example of teamwork, and their humility shines forth as inspiration.

Serving provides success through the willingness to get one’s hands dirty in a way that the person serving expects little if no reward.

Relationships, leadership, and success are not in viewing ourselves as right and others as wrong, imagining we have all the answers and others don’t.  It’s the complete opposite; it’s when we affirm others when they’re performing well, and just as much it’s when we admit we’ve missed the mark. 

None of us have the market cornered in wisdom;
when we think we do, we’re conceited.

The more we can demonstrate the emotional intelligence of being flexible and connected, the more inspirational we become.

Relationships, leadership, success, and life no less, is all procured through service.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Awareness for Gratitude

INSIGHT is one of the keys to mental health.  Another is motivation.  Insight is crucial for mental health, because without insight we cannot search for and see truth—given the general biblical premise that, “the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)  

Another term for insight is awareness. 

Motivation is of course needed
to convert awareness to action.

In the context of awareness, gratitude is the key to a plethora of mental health resources, not least perspective and resilience.  But few of us are inherently grateful; it doesn’t usually come naturally.

No matter how grateful we tend to be, there are always times in our lives when we struggle for gratitude.  Awareness of our lack of gratitude is the key.  It may be that we struggle for it long enough that others are giving us feedback of our lack (“Why are you complaining all the time?”), or perhaps better so, we see within ourselves the slide into trouble that we’re on (“Why are I complaining all the time?”).

Without gratitude we slide
into many varietals of malady.

But with gratitude, many blessings
of insight become possible, even realised.

Life without gratitude is a life made for complaint, and not all complaints are justified.  Indeed, most complaints are not, though there is even a biblical case for complaint in many circumstances in life—for example, loss and grief.  The key biblical imperative, however, is we are not to STAY in complaint, even if it can last a long while or we meander back and forth through it.  We are meant to traverse through it, eventually. 

Awareness for gratitude (or lack thereof) is pivotal in the mental health maintenance journey.

Reading this, you could say:

“Well, how am I going?” 
“Am I appropriately grateful right now?” 
“How’s my awareness right now?”

These are crucial questions to ponder, for we alone are masters and mistresses of our own destiny.  It’s okay if we’re not grateful and realise our gap, and even our desire to transform our thinking is a movement toward it. 

I would argue that we can’t tussle for gratitude if we aren’t aware of our lack of it.  But when we are grateful, we might be aware how easy we can slide out of it.

Awareness for gratitude is what promotes the maintenance of our mental health.  It’s the demonstration of a growth mindset.  It’s what separates those who live productive lives from those who don’t or can’t.  Awareness for gratitude is, I think, a gift of emotional intelligence.  Those with it are a gift to those around them. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Just one goal for the successful life

Success is determined by one thing: taking responsibility for our life.

In sum, this is the internal locus of control.

It is staying within our sphere of influence.  It is accepting and embracing the limitations of our control.  It is accepting that we can do what we can do, that we should do what we can.

What I think, say, and do – all of it – is MY responsibility.  Nobody else can be accountable for it.

Just the same, I’m not accountable for what another person thinks, says, or does.  That’s their choice. I cannot control what you think, say, or do, but you can.

When we stay within our control, we master the moment, and we live our best life in the moment.

Does it simplify life too much to say that there is one main goal and that this is it?  I don’t think so.

In too many respects, we make life more complicated than it needs to be.  If we truly want to succeed in any endeavour in life, it is good to come back to this unchanging truth:

Be responsible for what we are responsible for.

The challenge is to live out of this paradigm to test its power.  When we stay in this paradigm, we soon find the cogency of its power.  When we stay in this, we find the freedom of having been freed of needing to control what we cannot change and of accepting the control we have.

If we can see that this one thing leads to the successful life, we redefine for ourselves what true success looks like — as a spiritual truth.  Then we realise there’s nothing more powerful.  This simple truth sets us free, and it is the key to gratitude, hope, joy, and peace.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Post grief growth — resilience from adversity

The experience of loss is the paradox of life; life that becomes death. Loss is suffering in one word; to have someone or something we value taken away. 

The experience of loss would be hard enough if it only happened once. But the fact is it happens several times, perhaps many times, and sometimes too many times to count, over one lifetime.

One thing I’ve often thought about is whether we have the potential to master loss.

It is only been recently that I’ve come to discover that loss, as a general and overall concept, cannot be mastered. We may master a certain kind of loss, accepting the grief as part and parcel of life. But that doesn’t mean we master every kind of loss. And I think God can teach us something in this; not least of which, this reality prevents us from becoming conceited (this aligns with what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10). He was given something painful that had to be endured to prevent him from becoming conceited.

What makes being human so hard is that none of us at any time can predict just when loss will occur. It comes like a thief in the night. And only when it arrives do we comprehend that it was ever present as a potential reality from our very beginning.

Loss is impossibly hard. Anyone who has been touched by this suffering of having had someone beloved or something valuable taken away from us knows that grief is a pain that never truly leaves during the entire season we experience it. And in most cases, closure for grief is a myth. It never happens that way. It just so happens that we learn to live a new normal, which on the surface of it is a sad and stark reality.

I have found personally that the greatest gift of loss is learning to die to self. It is never an easy lesson to learn, but it is always worth learning.

I call this the Revenant Blessing. It is a broad and general lesson; once loss has swept our hope away on a torrent to oblivion, loss may not blindside us to that degree again.

We are given some gift of resilience that I liken better to a hopeful resignation. Nothing unimportant wins our covetous hearts over again.

But this doesn’t mean we won’t experience grief again. Losses will continue to occur. The bigger and more complicated our families and lives are, for instance, the more susceptible we are to loss.

We may well have been broken by loss, and we may have learned the lessons of Christ in dying to self; this doesn’t mean that we are fortified against every form of loss, for different losses bring different costs and requirements of us.

There is a wisdom in life that helps us as losses come. This is not about imagining that being human can be made easy. On the contrary, as we accept that being human is hard, we are given to a deeper, more gifted, experience of life. We are matured as we come to accept there are many things we cannot change.

What makes being human so hard is that this life is so unpredictable, and we cannot exercise supreme control over our thoughts, our emotions, and others’ thoughts and emotions. If only we could! But then if we could we wouldn’t live a life capable of love.

Perhaps we have suffered many losses already. Maybe there are some losses yet to be experienced. What stands us in good stead is our acceptance of the day; to take each day as it comes, gratefully, as the mystery each day is. And whether the day involves trial or tribulation or a mix of both matters less than the fact that the universe spins the same way every day.

What makes being human easier is when we finally arrive in that place where we don’t need to control the day, other people, our circumstances, the weather, or anything else.

This is an ‘arrival’ to strive for, and that gives enduring loss meaning, which fuels hope.

I know this one thing for sure, however. I’m so glad of the person I’ve become because — in spite — of the grief I’ve endured. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the things I’ve suffered.

Empathy and compassion are the gifts borne of great suffering.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Let’s agree on our differences


We will—all of us—disagree with anyone else (literally, everyone) at some point.  It’s true also that none of us even agrees with ourselves all the time.  Think about indecision and regret.  

We would all decide differently at times
if we were reflecting on different information.

The fact is we change our minds.  We also have set views on things.  And we have biases, including confirmation bias, which explains why we prefer certain information, and intentionality bias, which explains how we tend to judge others but are lenient on ourselves.

When differences become a problem for us our whole attitude zeroes in on the difference and how the other person is a problem—they are being obstinate.

But if we ACCEPT that there will be differences, we hold the difference we have with another person and resist the temptation of putting them in the naughty corner.

There often isn’t enough time or opportunity or relational tolerance to flesh matters out.  Sometimes people have set opposite views, and we find it frustrating when we can’t change a person’s mind.  Think about that from their viewpoint.  Who lacks tolerance?

Imagine if we lived in a world where we as people readily accepted that others think differently and that that doesn’t make them wrong—just different. Imagine the peace.

To make that world a reality in our own life we must accept it starts and ends with us.  We must work on our own attitude to others, we can’t expect them to do any of that work for us.  We can only impact our own behaviour and attitudes.

Imagine the relief in others when they relate with us where our acceptance takes the pressure off them to align to our views about things.  We all want to be treated with respect, and that actually needs to start with us.  Most people respond in kind.  Respect begets respect.

If we feel a person is judging us, we can ask ourselves if we’re doing anything to put division between us.

But if we’re honest, it’s hard.  Our differences with others create a lot of turmoil, for us and for them and for others as well, especially when we or they feel there is a need to influence change.

Agreeing on the presence of difference in our lives is important for a content life.

Accepting we have limited control over certain circumstances and others is the larger part of personal maturity and prosperity. It is peace for us, and that is peace for others, too.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Wellness or Illness – what is it to be?


Remember the old adage, “there is no ‘I’ in TEAM”?

It’s the same with our mental health: “I” or “WE”?

“I” ought to remind us of ILLNESS, whereas
“WE” ought to remind us of WELLNESS.

Healing and wholeness are not rocket science. 

It’s the careful attention to connecting with a caring, compassionate world — the world of WE.

But it does take courage, it takes risk, to thrust ourselves into an often-unknown world, so we do understand the fear innate in shrinking, isolating, withdrawing — it feels safer.  Indeed, these forces are often too compelling to overcome. 

But when we are ready, we can take a plunge, especially when we give what we feel might be a safe space a chance.

Safe spaces of community are a boost for wellness.  But safe spaces are only safe when we feel safe, and others feel safe.  There is a shared responsibility to ensure a safe place. 

Safe spaces are places where a person can suffer and be comforted, where their primary emotions of sadness and fear find acceptance, but not a place where secondary emotions like anger and rage are allowed to boil over to damage and traumatise.  The former is ownership of their emotional landscape, whereas the latter is a blaming of others.  Bearing and facing sadness and fear, not judging either, is the path to healing.  We all experience sadness and fear.

Being honest about our sadness and fear will always pave a way to healing.  But unmerited anger just festers.

Anger contributes to illness
but safe expressions of sadness and fear
reveal acceptance and lead to wellness.

Friday, February 9, 2024

The holding pattern growth purpose in suffering

Against our modern-day proclivity in desiring the easy life (compare how ‘easy’ life was 70-100 years ago) there is one thing that suffering gives us hope for: growth. 

I’ve seen this firsthand in my life: first in suffering the loss of my first marriage and second in the loss of the career of my calling.  No matter what I tried and no matter what ‘work’ I did to recover, I could not escape the holding pattern of suffering that gripped my life.

There were forces in my life that conspired against my comfort; yet these same forces conspired against the escape I wanted that would have impeded my recovery.

There is a classic but painful irony in suffering.  What is true in ‘what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger’ turns out to be the acquisition of a growth mindset as a compensation for what we’ve been through.  The only caveat: if only we respond to the ignominy of suffering with humility, poise, and grace.

We lament the growing pains of grief, but if we can only hold onto hope enduring it; that it will produce perseverance, character, maturity, and wisdom, eventually.  Because it will.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Drinker’s Dilemma

I lived the drinker’s dilemma from about my eighteenth birthday until about six weeks after my thirty-sixth birthday — 18 years, and though there weren’t many black outs, there were many seedy hangovers.  

The way I feel about alcohol now is balanced.  Having been a non-drinker for over twenty years now, I commend anyone to drink if they can enjoy it in moderation.  But as soon as the drink becomes a pattern for coping a person is in trouble.

2,900 years ago these words were penned:

“It is not for kings, Lemuel –
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.”  (Proverbs 31:4-7)

As a counsellor I know it’s not as simple as someone giving up the grog cold turkey.  For many people, drinking is a coping mechanism and there needs to be the right supports in place to help a person make their journey clear and free of alcoholism.

That support for me two decades ago was a tremendous body of believers in recovery, unity, and service — the rooms of AA, shout out to the Mandurah Steps group, Coolbellup, Fremantle, Rockingham groups, and the Kwinana Town Group (where I was Secretary for a short time before I received my call to become a minister of God).  In the grips of grief with my first marriage in tatters, so many men and a few women gathered me and encouraged me to go deep into my own pain to own it, to deal with my resentments and anxieties, to invest in my recovery by looking at ME, not blaming others.  AA gave me so much at the time I committed myself to a lifetime of recovery, unity, and service.  It is a constant reminder that my life — all our lives — has enormous purpose, much bigger than many of us contemplate or dare to imagine.

The fact is life wasn’t meant to be lived off our faces.  It is meant to be lived sober.  Life is its best when we are stone cold sober.

Recovery is worth every bit of the sacrifice it takes to get and stay sober.

Unity is HOW we get through and STAY sober, the mutual love and support of brothers and sisters of the same faith.

Service is what keeps us humble and fortifies us against the inevitable threads of disappointment, regret, betrayal, bitterness, unforgiveness, and resentment that remain ever present threats to our sobriety.  Truth is, these snares are everywhere in life, and we must get to a place where we’re girded beyond them, to save us when we might otherwise slip into the haze of a drunken spree.  Service is an offensive strategy to ensure we are blessed in being a blessing.  A person who serves simply for the joy of it, because they can, cannot be swayed by addiction.

Get this: sobriety is a state of mind, and less so much about whether we drink or not.  But it is also about being and staying sober.  Sobriety is the wisdom of maturity that contemplates that life is a bruising affair, that there are too many temptations and stumbles along the way, and that the only way through is the preemptive perspective that prevents us getting stuck in the salty mangrove swamps where there is no spiritual life.

The drinker’s dilemma is to drink to cope with the pains of life that could be resolved if only the drink were replaced with facing scary feelings which threaten to overwhelm but can be faced and can be tamed.

The drinker’s dilemma is a short-term solution that involves considerable consequences.  Alcohol always complicates things.  It is not only a physical carcinogen, it’s an emotional and a spiritual carcinogen as well.  It destroys lives and never builds.  And to think we still allow it to be advertised so much that young lives continue to be conditioned to think it’s part of a good life.  Trouble is the drinker’s dilemma, because for every person who partakes in moderation there is potential for another to tie on a bender.

We don’t need alcohol like we need food, water, and shelter.  Alcohol contributes nothing to our needs.  For nine who can ‘enjoy a quiet one’ there is one or two who will drink themselves to oblivion.  Theirs is the drinker’s dilemma, ten thousand regrets with the hair of the dog combined with another ten thousand on top — the daily drive to drink for 55 years.  The drinker’s dilemma is damned if one drinks and damned if one does not drink (for the fact that the drink is missed).

You can do it.  You can rid it from your life if you relate to the drinker’s dilemma.

Get support around you.  Go and face those emotions that beg to be met.  Commit yourself to the steps of recovery and be blessed to find your purpose in service.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

What do I do with this crippling grief?

A polarising question to loss: “What do I do with this crippling grief?”

There is a simple answer to a question that is an eternal conundrum.  The answer is there is no answer.  Contemplating this leads us to a place of contemplation.  It leads to silence.  From silence comes respect for all things that do not have answers, for there are many problems of life that leave us without words or capacity of response.

To loss, there is no answer.  

And yet what is come of crippling grief?  

Silence.  Stillness.  Surrender.  

Acceptance as a response and goal of arrival.


In the discombobulating reality of loss, grief invades as an ever-present foe, stealing all semblance of peace, hope and joy.  It causes us to distrust both present and future as we pine for the past.  It annihilates all confidence that happiness is possible again.  It’s like we’ve travelled through a portal to hell.  We envy what we once had.  It’s like a parallel universe where we disconnect from others who are untouched by loss, getting on with ‘their happy lives’.  It leaves us mystified and dread-filled.  In loss, a series of blows is meted out in a season of unparalleled injustice that seems to last beyond forever.

There is no making sense of it.  There are no words.  Anything ventured is a waste of space and energy.  And yet, somehow the answer is closer than ever before.  

In a topic that makes no sense, sense is finally made when we agree that searching is senseless.  When we sit in the pain agreeing to hope when the presence of hope is a void we find a way of putting one foot in front of another, even if that’s a dream of the hope we cannot let go of.

At least we can know that someone sees us in the crippling grief.  We connect to a world we hardly knew existed.  Strangely we feel home in places that were previously foreign.  

In your crippling grief know that there is a purpose in all things, and that that purpose may not reveal itself for some time; yet, surely as I’ve heard it countless times, that purpose will come.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Hope beyond the overwhelm

Life in the overwhelm takes us from the relative comfort we may have had to fear to questioning the meaning of life to questioning our existence.  It is fathoms below, and infinitely harder than, any pain we’d previously conceived.

When we endure loss and we are tipped into grief, overwhelm threatens every moment.  Even when we’re gifted a presence of momentary peace, we know that the overwhelm, the dread, beckons at the door — we wonder when our peace will be vanquished.  That terrifying reality is an ever present threat.


Some people have faith to overcome and it comes naturally to them.  For others — especially those who are more realistic than idealistic — faith to overcome comes much less naturally.

Let me explain that ‘faith to overcome’ is not inherently about religious faith — where your faith might be in God, for instance.  For me, faith to overcome is much more visceral than religious faith, but it is also the basis of authentic religious faith. 

It’s a faith that trusts that good is coming. 

Faith to overcome is
born of and is underpinned
by a hope that insists good is coming. 

Faith to overcome is
impossible to stifle.
It holds the overwhelm amid the promise
of something good coming from it. 

This faith to overcome somehow helps in the pain of the overwhelm because it hopes for something better on the horizon.  Ultimately this faith to overcome cannot be defeated because the hope underpinning it refuses to be despaired.  Eventually, all good hopes are vindicated.  Good does come eventually.

Sure, there are times when we do despair: 

… times that are, “far beyond our ability to endure,
so that we despaired of life itself.”
— 2 Corinthians 1:8

But even in such places of spirit, there is the intractable presence of hope beyond the overwhelm if only we cling to the fact that good is coming.  And good WILL come. 

While we’re on this sojourn of pain in the overwhelm and dread, we can enrol in the truth that enduring this harsh season will pay handsome dividends when it is over.

Life experience is the school of hard knocks. 
Such wisdom is hard-won. 
Once won is cannot be lost.

If we talk about peace, we can see that once we’ve experienced this travail, the premium for peace is a bounty worth paying the service of our lives for.  And peace becomes our soul’s aim and hence wisdom is our driver. 

This is what life experience teaches us, through the pain of tumult: 

Peace is worth the struggle to attain it.
Peace is a goodness that indwells hope and joy.
Suffering teaches us that peace is THE prize of life.

Hope beyond the overwhelm is something that refuses to let go of the concept that good is coming.  It keeps hope alive, and it certainly can keep us alive. 

The concept of an horizon is crucial on the cruel path of life.  The horizon never arrives but if there is goodness there, it fuels hope and the faith to overcome.