I’m excited to be chatting in this episode of Small Talk Big Ideas to someone who has truly embraced change in their life and works daily to help others do the same! We’ve all had that moment where we look around and wonder how the hell we got here, knowing we haven’t exactly carved out the life we wanted but we’ve ended up with what we have! Tony had that light bulb moment at 42 and radically changed his life. I hope you find his story inspiring and motivating!
About Tony Meredith
Voice Over (00:03): Thanks for joining us for the Small Talk, Big Ideas podcast. A podcast to enrich your soul where we have conversations with inspiring people about all things property, business, and life. And now, the host of Small Talk, Big Ideas, Ian Ugarte.
Ian Ugarte (00:23): Hey there. Welcome to Small Talk, Big Ideas, and today we’re talking to Tony Meredith, who started his life in a small country town, only to find himself in a bigger country town which we call Brisbane. All the way through taking lessons through life, through big business and flying himself around the country for a golden handcuff job, only to realize that what he really wanted to do was serve people and at the same time do property deals. Today on Small Talk, Big Ideas, you’ll find so much more about what life is about and how we all actually think the same. Enjoy, and as always, if you want to subscribe, follow us on all the social media channels. Enjoy today’s podcast.
Tony Meredith (00:58): It’s Friday night in the middle of Winter, and I’ve just been cleaned up by these Maoris. It’s like what am I doing? It was fascinating. I hope that doesn’t happen to you, mate. You get lulled into this false sense of security. It’s like I’m slotting them from everywhere and then just, bam! [inaudible 00:01:13]
Ian Ugarte (01:13): No, there’s no false sense of security for me. And ironically, it’s a Friday night for me, too.
Tony Meredith (01:19): Good, good, good.
Ian Ugarte (01:20): We are rolling, so that’s a good story to start with. Going back and playing old boys. It’s interesting for me going back and playing what I call wogball, the real football, that it’s a very different temperament change for what I used to be like. I used to suffer white line fever like crazy, you’d hate playing against me because I was such a smart ass. Did you notice that when you were playing in the Masters?
Tony Meredith (01:45): Oh, absolutely. I had a terrible case of white line fever as well. I grew up playing soccer, so again, from the country. I grew up playing soccer, then went and played rugby, and then I was able to move to South Australia back in 1999 and I played Aussie rules down there. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And I had a dreadful case of white line fever. I would be one of the on ballers, I’d only get about one or two positions a game, but I’d just run around belting blokes all afternoon. I had a whale of a time. This was back in 1999, and I would typically get put on their best player, and just my job was to belt for them.
Tony Meredith (02:21): Yes, it was interesting coming back playing at the age of 42. Again, I started off and I thought I would have the white line fever. And again, I was lulled into that false sense of security because I was to still skip off both feet. And even though I was a lot slower, so too were the people that I was playing against. We’d all sort of progressed downwards at the same pace. Massively false sense of security, and then the next week I was taught a huge lesson and that was the end of my Masters football. Done.
Ian Ugarte (02:50): What, two games?
Tony Meredith (02:50): Two games. That’s it, done. This is ridiculous.
Ian Ugarte (02:52): That’s awesome. That’s awesome. All right, so Tony, you said that you grew up in Gympie, little farmland.
Tony Meredith (03:02): I did.
Ian Ugarte (03:02): Yeah. On acreage.
Tony Meredith (03:04): [crosstalk 00:03:04].
Ian Ugarte (03:05): Your parents, still alive and still out there?
Tony Meredith (03:06): Yeah, still alive. They’re not up there now, they’re down at Redland Bay. We grew up on six acres, had a couple of cows and a few little crops, nothing… We didn’t sell any crops or we didn’t sell any milk, it was more just for our own sustainability. A few tomatoes, a few Rosella plants, et cetera. And look, it was a great lifestyle. I remember vividly that on the holidays it was you had breakfast and you were outside, we’ll see you at lunch and then you’re outside, we’ll see you at dinner.
Tony Meredith (03:32): That’s how I got to live my life. We had a little Yamaha 50 motorbike as well, so we’d run around the yard and whatnot. Just wonderful, fond memories of living in a small country town. My mom and dad had to settle now down here in Brisbane because my brother and I live on the south side of Brisbane. They’d come down here, they’re a little bit older, they’ve downsized, and want to be close to the grandkids as well.
Ian Ugarte (03:57): You leave Gympie, you go and go to university. What do you study?
Tony Meredith (04:01): No, I went to boarding school. I went to boarding school. Basically got booted out of Gympie, and went to boarding school for a couple of years. Did 11 and 12 down at [Ashborough 00:04:09] and thoroughly loved it. Middle of the Great Lakes, I got to play footy every afternoon, which I absolutely loved. I didn’t do much schoolwork, unfortunately, much to my parent’s disgust. Then went back to Gympie after school and I did TAFE for a year, I did an Associate [inaudible 00:04:25] Business for one year, and then it was all about getting back to the bright lights of Brisbane. Again, being a country kid, I didn’t know about this Brisbane thing. We came down for Expo ’88, and that was my real taste of it. Then the following year, boarding school for a couple of years. I just had to get back.
Tony Meredith (04:42): Came back and went to university. I did two years of a three year degree, which was for Bachelor of Leisure Studies. I did plenty of leisure and not much study for two years, and then dropped. I look back now and I think, “What the hell was I doing?” Because the whole idea was it was a degree to get you to potentially work on a cruise ship or outdoor education or some sort of tourism, which doesn’t need a degree. But nonetheless, that’s what I chose to do, that was my ticket out of Gympie. Look, dropped that after two years, was on the dole for a while actually. And then my father drove down from Gympie and picked me up, and said, “I’m going to get you a job.” And he drove me around to all the various fast food joints and super markets on the south side of Brisbane.
Tony Meredith (05:27): And the last call of this day, I remember this so vividly, I said to dad, I said, “Man, I’m done. We’ve been going since 8:00.” And he said, “No, we’ll do one more, we’ll do one more.” This last place that we went to was McDonald’s at [inaudible 00:05:41] over on the south side of Brisbane. And the lady who gave me the application form, who’s today the mother of my two kids. So had I never done that last call, then who knows what life could have been. Amazing. I got the job, obviously, and worked in McDonald’s for four years. And a wonderful background for me, taught me all around management, working a small business, et cetera. Wonderful grounding, but I always knew that I wanted more. And then I went back to uni and I did it the right time. It’s amazing when you have to pay for university yourself, that actually your focus levels go through the roof.
Ian Ugarte (06:20): Crazy.
Tony Meredith (06:21): I was opposed to it the first time around when mom and dad paid it. It’s like, well, no study but plenty of leisure. I did a Bachelor of Commerce, and gained that into two and a half years. And then from there, I like any graduate, was looking to get a job. I did a double major in HR, human resources, and marketing, and was fortunate enough to be a HR manager at Meatworks at [inaudible 00:06:43]. I was there for a little over two and a half years, and really a wonderful, wonderful grounding. Part of that is I got to spend time in South Australia. I was down there for nine months. I went down there and helped them start up a Meatworks down there. They’d actually bought one, and they got rid of all the workers and then I went down there as the HR manager to rehire everyone in a little town of 4,000.
Tony Meredith (07:04): Come from Gympie when I grew up was about 12-odd thousand, down to Brissy which is a couple million, and then down in this little town in the southeast of South Australia which had 4,000 people. And when you’re associated with the largest employer in town, everyone knows who you are. Even though you don’t know who they are, everyone knows who you are. Friday night at the pub, the amount of free drinks that I’d be getting from people who would be looking for work and whatnot. As much as I was saying, “Well hey, that’s not going to influence my decision, but I’m happy to take a free round or the free beer,” or whatever it was. It was interesting. That was good in one regard.
Tony Meredith (07:38): But then the downside of that is, when you’re in a small community and you go and fire someone… everyone’s your friend when you’re hiring, but then when you got to go and fire someone, there’s nowhere to hide. It was a great period of my life, I learned so much. But also towards the end, it became a little bit debilitating in the sense of, I almost became a hermit. Because unfortunately, not everyone who we brought on worked out. I’d just go to the shops, for example, and I’d cop abuse. There’s only two shops in a town of 4,000, so I couldn’t wait to get out of there and come back to Brisbane.
Ian Ugarte (08:12): A couple things with that, too. Your dad drove down, picked you up, and drove you around the place because he wasn’t happy, you being on the dole obviously.
Tony Meredith (08:19): Correct, yeah.
Ian Ugarte (08:23): Because this is something I was talking with someone last week, having worked in TAFE, I’d get phone calls from mothers saying, “My son wants to be a plumber.” And I’d go, “Well why isn’t he ringing, why are you ringing?” Did you actually want a job? Or he just said, “Enough’s enough, you’ve got to go in.” And did he make you actually do the talking?
Tony Meredith (08:43): Yeah, I did it 100%. He sat in the car. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I did all the talking. What I needed in is I needed… I lacked confidence. I was in a very dark space, I was doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing, and on the dole you get into the habit of. It was hard to break. And dad could see that, and I’m very grateful for what he did. He drove down and said, “We’re doing it. We’re doing this.” Yes, absolutely.
Tony Meredith (09:08): He would drive to the outlets, but I had to go in, I had to front up to the service desk or whatever it was. He didn’t do any of the speaking for me. And as I said, we could have easily… it was about 4:00 in that afternoon, I said, “I’m done.” And he said, “No mate, we’re doing one more.” There’s so much that I’d get out of that one day, and particularly that last piece, just do one more. Because had I have not done that one more, then who knows what life would be like. He-
Ian Ugarte (09:33): Completely different revolving door, hey, like completely different.
Tony Meredith (09:34): 100%, would never have met my wife, obviously not the kids, and all those sorts of things. There’s so much that I got out of it that obviously I’m eternally grateful for him. I’m eternally grateful that I met my wife who was given the opportunity by McDonald’s. I’ve got plenty of [inaudible 00:09:51] as well like that. It’s a case of you’ve just got to keep going, and-
Ian Ugarte (09:56): Did you get the job because she was interested in you? Did she tell you that in the end?
Tony Meredith (10:02): She didn’t make the final decision. She gave in the application form and accepted that. She put in a strong recommendation for me, so…
Ian Ugarte (10:11): Now, it leads us to McDonald’s who has its own university, it has an incredible management style of how they actually bring through people from the beginning through the top end. Did you manage to get to any of the management levels?
Tony Meredith (10:27): Yeah, absolutely. I was an Assistant Manager. I went through a number of their programs, and it was amazing. I was very fortunate because that was the break that I needed here. After about four weeks, actually I started off just flipping a few burgers, and after four weeks they knew that I had a lot more to offer than flipping burgers. And I was given a Training Manager’s job, and then from there working my way up to being the Assistant Manager. I never wanted to be a Store Manager, it wasn’t for me. But certainly being an Assistant Manager. Yes, having gone through many of their programs, and phenomenal. Unfortunately my kids chose not to go to McDonald’s, we wanted them to, but [inaudible 00:11:01], he works at Hungry Jack’s and my daughter works at KFC. We’ve got the fast food covered.
Tony Meredith (11:08): But look, certainly the training in McDonald’s is second to none. Say what you want about the food, but the training’s a lot of things. The systems, the processes, and what I do today, I’m a business coach. And back then I never thought of being a business coach, but it’s fascinating how I referred back to a lot of my time at Macca’s, particularly around the systems and the process and the repeatability of things. Because you’re educating 15 year old kids to effectively run a multi-million dollar business. You’ve got to have very tight systems and budgets to be able to do that.
Ian Ugarte (11:41): Yeah, 15 years olds, and doing it well. That’s the important part.
Tony Meredith (11:44): Absolutely, yeah. Exactly, yeah.
Ian Ugarte (11:47): You’ve gone into the… I always love the story of I grew up in Sydney, and they opened [Standmol 00:11:53] McDonald’s. And Standmol McDonald’s ended up being the biggest grossing McDonald’s in Australia as far as turnover. And there was as young kid that started in there as a burger flipper, and he ended up the Global CEO of McDonald’s. And he unfortunately passed away from liver cancer-
Tony Meredith (12:14): Charlie Bell?
Ian Ugarte (12:14): Yeah.
Tony Meredith (12:15): Charlie Bell, yeah, yeah, I know him, absolutely.
Ian Ugarte (12:17): Unbelievable.
Tony Meredith (12:17): I remember the story well. Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (12:18): Yeah, I-
Tony Meredith (12:18): Yeah, and it’s possible, and we’ve got friends of ours who were able to create amazing careers. In fact, my wife was a great example where she stared off as a fry girl, and she worked her way up to be a Regional Marketing Consultant. She decided to take a redundancy when the kids came along, but she was able to be responsible for marketing. Just wonderful careers there.
Ian Ugarte (12:38): I’ll tell another story, too. There’s a maid of mine who ended up owning… became his mentor, owned a store of plumbing supplies across New South Wales. And he picked up this young kid from football, he was off the rails a little bit, and he says, “Look, I’ll take you onboard, I’ll give you a job at the front counter but you need to do what I do.” And he sort of became his adopted father. At the age of 22, he sent him to McDonald’s. And he says, “But what about the business here?”
Ian Ugarte (13:10): And he goes, “Mate, the business is going to be yours if you play your cards right. I’ve got no other kids to hand it to.” And he sent him to McDonald’s, he says, “I want you to become as high as you can in the next five years at McDonald’s, and go through all the programs with management. And that way I know that when I hand over my business to you, it’s going to be…” And that’s what he did, he owns the business now, and it’s pretty awesome structure. Again, you can talk all day long about the nutrition value and all of that sort of stuff.
Tony Meredith (13:36): Correct, yes.
Ian Ugarte (13:36): But certainly in the background, the management style. Now, you ended up in pharmaceuticals. How did that happen?
Tony Meredith (13:44): From this, I went back. I left McDonald’s, went back to university and did it the right way. As opposed to first time around I didn’t do it the right way. Second time around I did. Studied a Bachelor of Commerce, majored in marketing and human resources. Just wanted a job at the end of my studies like any graduate. Was fortunate enough to get a job in human resources in a Meatworks, which is a very good grounding for someone. Because you’re dealing with all sorts of people, people who come with various levels of baggage, counselings, and health and safety issues. That was really, really challenging for me, got to spend time with different steak as well.
Tony Meredith (14:22): But I realized after a couple of years, two and a half years, that it was very gray for me, and I’m very black and white. For me, the other arm of my studies was in marketing, and so I went and got a job with what was the Mars Corporation, back then it was called Uncle Ben’s. I was selling pet food, and work might very quickly to, this with a sales trainee, selling pet food to Woolies, Coles, and IGAs, to agricultural outlets, et cetera, and then very quickly worked my up to being a State Manager. And then from there it went into states. We stayed within the Mars Corporation.
Tony Meredith (14:55): Mars has three divisions. Pet food is the largest division, but they also have the food division which is Dolmios, KanTong, MasterFoods, [inaudible 00:15:03], and then the third division which most people refer to which is the snack side of things, looking at Mars, M&Ms, and the like. I went down for the central post of New South Wales to [inaudible 00:15:12], it was where the office was, which is where the MasterFoods sauces and spices are made, and spent time down there. And then came back home, my wife had gotten fairly homesick. Back we went. I had to leave Mars.
Tony Meredith (15:22): I worked for another company here in Brisbane in sales, and then there was an opportunity for a large pharmaceutical company based, again, here in Brisbane, and jumped on board. That was as a Trade Marketing Manager. Trade Marketing sits between sales and marketing. I was responsible for doing on various promotions and in store merchandise, et cetera. Then I was actually working my way up very quickly within that business, and stayed there for nine and a half years.
Ian Ugarte (15:47): Right.
Tony Meredith (15:51): Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (15:51): Philosophically, how do you look at pharma, or what I call big pharma?
Tony Meredith (15:56): Well I was more on the vitamin side, so I was very fortunate to, from a vitamin point of view, a lot of those vitamins are very efficacious. There’s certainly plenty questions out of them, but for me, it’s about that they play a role. And they are complimentary medicine, that’s what they’re designed to be. But look, if you’ve got a good diet and a good exercise and you look after yourself, then your [inaudible 00:16:22] need for vitamins is a lot lower. But unfortunately the majority of people don’t fit into that category.
Tony Meredith (16:29): From a big pharma point of view, for us it was all about how could we make a difference in people’s lives? And we came up with all sorts of products around diabetes, minimizing blood clots after people have had heart attacks and whatnot. Look, I get the whole big pharma piece, but I really enjoyed the [inaudible 00:16:48], and I enjoyed what we were able to do and the impact we were able to make on people who were incredibly sick. And to make their lives a little more comfortable certainly was very rewarding.
Ian Ugarte (16:59): What was the decision at nine and a half years to move on?
Tony Meredith (17:02): Yes, I got a redundancy. But interestingly, I had made the decision beforehand… now, I don’t recommend people do what I did. That, for me, I started there in ’08 and finished in 2018. Sorry, end of ’08, and then finished at the start of 2018. At the start of 2015, I was in an incredibly dark space. I had a great job, a very good paying job, but I spent most of my life in airplanes and hotel suites and was never at home. It’s like the golden handcuffs in the sense of that I was getting paid all this money and had a very good life, but unfortunately I was just never at home. I was depressed, I didn’t have depression, but I certainly was depressed and in a very dark space. And I decided to do something about it.
Tony Meredith (17:48): In fact, what happened with me is I read a book, and the book was Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. And in there, chapter two, he talks about the end of every mile. For me, I first read that chapter and I put it down because he talks about [inaudible 00:18:02], he talks about active eulogy, what would people say? And I didn’t want to deal with that at that time. For whatever reason, two weeks after that, I pick the book backup again. And when I read it again, I actually resonated with what Covey was saying. And effectively, he was saying I’ve got my life, and what are going to do about it? Are you going to maximize it, and what are people going to say about you when you’re gone, and what would you like them to say?
Tony Meredith (18:16): For me, I thought, “My gosh.” At that stage I was overweight, unhappy, didn’t see my family. It wasn’t a good eulogy, and I was like, “I’ve got to do something about it.” The very thing that I did is actually went and lost a heap of weight. I was able to lose 12 kilos in 12 weeks. Even though I’ve gone and put on half back over the years, but over that time, I signed up to a weight challenge or body transformation challenge. And I was able to get into the, out of 10,000 people nationals, I was able to get 1,250. And it was a real achievement for me, because I said to myself, it was 12 weeks was long enough to challenge me, but not too long that it was going to break me.
Tony Meredith (19:03): And my approach at the start was, well I was given a food sheet and an exercise sheet for the 84 days. And I just said to myself each day for 84 days, “I just need to follow this system.” And I have had plenty of false starts before, and the plenty of stories around starting guides and falling off after a few weeks. But for whatever reason, at that point in my life, I said to myself, “These people know what they’re doing. I’m going to follow this religiously for 84 days in succession.” And as I said, after 84 days I was able to lose 12 kilos.
Tony Meredith (19:36): And what was interesting to me was that you also had some befores and afters, it was a before and after floating around [inaudible 00:19:43] of me and the jocks holding up newspapers, and then you had to do the endurance as well. At the end of week four, end of week eight, and then at the finish. For me, week zero to four, I lost a little bit of weight. And then weeks five to eight I lost a little bit more, and then from nine to 12 and it literally just fell off me. And I take out of that so many things, and one is that you’ve just got stick with it. You’ve got to stick with things, because how often do people stop after four weeks?
Tony Meredith (20:10): It doesn’t have to be weight, it could be anything. You and I mix in similar circles around property, and it’s about I start it and I give up. For me, I could have easily given up, maybe lost a kilo or two, I would have felt okay. But I knew that I wanted to stick with this thing. And the other thing that I get out of it is trust the process. There is a process. Someone had gone before me, created this exercise sheet, created this food sheet, I just need to follow that. And again, I see that so often when people try and short circuit things, come up with their own ways. And it’s like, just trust the process.
Ian Ugarte (20:42): Yeah. I mean, how many people ask me all the time, “Do you offer a guarantee, guarantee,” guaranteed it will work. As long as you follow the process. And this is-
Tony Meredith (20:51): 100%.
Ian Ugarte (20:53): There’s so many things that I talk about in there. The snowball effect. The snowball effect for you was first, a third, a little bit, second third a little bit more, third, the last 30% flew off you. And then you start talking about the 90/10 rule and all of that sort of stuff. And one of the biggest things in property, and as you just said, we’re both in property, the last 10% takes 50% of the time and 40% of the cost. That’s what my view on property is. And people celebrate way too early. When I see someone celebrating a DA approval, I shake my head. I go, “You are a long way from where you need to be.” You’ve gone in and then started your own business at 2018, is that what you did?
Tony Meredith (21:36): Yeah, yeah. I suppose the rest of that story around the weight loss was that I finished the weight loss, and had this enormous sense of relief. Again, to be able to get proud of it or to adapt space. I just thought, “Wow. I’ve got this belief, what am I going to do?” Because again, I’m in this high paying job that I’m incredibly unhappy. And that’s where the property stuff came in. We had had to buy and hold properties before, and I always had this desire to explore developing, and I went along for some meetups and signed up for a course, and I was fortunate enough to get my first development side in March of ’16. I got another one soon after it, and so on.
Tony Meredith (22:09): But the whole coaching side of things panned out because I started off really want to getting into property, and I had people come up to me and say, “Oh my gosh, you’re having some great success.” Or, “How did you do this weight loss thing? It’s amazing what you’ve been able to do.” And all these people wanting my help, and it dawned on me that I’d been a manager of people. Whether it’d be at Macca’s, or whether it be in the jobs that I was in having to do with Mars or with Sanofi, the pharmaceutical company. And I thought, “I’m meant to be a coach.” At that time, because even though I liked property, I didn’t love it, I thought I loved it. But I learned along the way that I don’t like the fighting with councils and [inaudible 00:22:46] contractors and knocking down trees. I don’t like all that sorts, that doesn’t inspire me or fulfill me.
Tony Meredith (22:50): I know others get excited and [inaudible 00:22:53] for that stuff, but I was very self-aware that I liked it but I didn’t love it. But what I loved to be able to do was [inaudible 00:22:59] people. Then I went off and studied to be a coach, and that was in what was the end of ’16, start of ’17. And then from there, I wanted to be a life coach to everyone in the whole world, quite a narrow niche. Then I reached out to a lot of people and said I wanted to do some free coaching. Because I was still working at this time. And the majority of people said, “No.” And I go, “Oh my gosh, I can’t even give it away.” The one person that said yes was a guy that you and I know, which is Rob [Blatts 00:23:30].
Ian Ugarte (23:30): Yep.
Tony Meredith (23:31): I shared his story on Saturday, [inaudible 00:23:33], but out of all of the people. There’s a lesson out of that. The lesson is that you’re going to get heaps of no’s, but keep going, keep going, keep going. And I kept telling myself, “My gosh, I’m offering this for free,” and Rob said yes and I’m so grateful that he did. Because in the last few years we’ve been able to do some pretty special things for his business. Yeah, it was all about, how do I then go and start to earn money to get me out of this job? I actually said to my employers in the start of ’17, they came to me, it was at the end of ’16. It was like the performance review. And they said to me, “What are we going to do with you?” And I said, “Don’t waste your money on me, because I’m going to leave, I’m going to get out.”
Tony Meredith (24:16): Because I had already had two projects under my belt by then, and I could see that there was good money to be made. And I said, “Don’t worry about it.” And I said, “I’m going to leave.” I actually gave them the date. The date was, on the 26th of August, 2018 was going to be my 10 year anniversary. But that was a Sunday, so I said, “I’ll stick around to the 27th.” I said, “That’s the day.” And anyway, I couldn’t believe it when they came in at the end of 2017 and they said, “Look, we know you’re leaving next year. But would you be interested in a redundancy, because obviously [inaudible 00:24:46]?” Because I was just going to happily pop over the 10 years and go, but they came to me with that offer. It was amazing.
Ian Ugarte (24:57): Certainly a very brave way of actually saying it. Although that gives you the stimulus of saying, “I’ve already told them I’ve got to get… at that date, I’ve got to be in a position to be able to leave.” That was a good thing anyway.
Tony Meredith (25:07): 100%.
Ian Ugarte (25:08): Yeah.
Tony Meredith (25:08): Yeah, 100%. It was the accountability stuff. I was telling everyone. I was telling my bosses, I was telling everyone. And the message back to me was providing that I continued to add value to my employer, which is a fair enough comment to me, then there’s no issue. And because I had so much experience, they were happy for me to stick around and bring through the next batch of people. As I said, it’s not for everybody. But that was my decision, and I-
Ian Ugarte (25:34): Do you think in a way, did they replace you, or did they make your position redundant?
Tony Meredith (25:40): No, my position was made redundant.
Ian Ugarte (25:42):Right. Because I wonder, if you serve at your top level as much as you possibly can, whether there are some businesses out there that actually will offer you the redundancy as a thank you more than anything else. Do you think that happened?
Tony Meredith (25:57): Yeah, certainly there was an element of that, absolutely. Because I had given my all to that business, and as I said, I was traveling most weeks, I was doing 12, 14 hour days. I’ve got no doubt there was an element of that, because they all knew I was going. It’s not like that was a surprise.
Ian Ugarte (26:15): Yeah. My greatest regret out of not traveling so much anymore, and I doubt that we’ll be traveling very much anymore into the future with the changes that have happened most recently. My greatest regret is not to be able to get my frequent flyers. I’m not going to be able to walk up and say, “I’m a Platinum,” with my big ego. How did you deal with that massive life problem?
Tony Meredith (26:38): [inaudible 00:26:38] huge life problem, first-world problem, isn’t it? For me, how’s this? In one year, I actually Platinum on domestic travel only. It’s just, when I look back, I go, “That’s disgraceful.” It was something like 35 trips or something in a year. And I tell you what, when you line it up against the fact that you want to be with your family, then you certainly move beyond this whole Platinum thing. No doubt that early on, when I traveled, it was a real thrill for me. It was an absolute thrill for me, having travel and seeing all these different places and having, like you said, the ego and the self-importance. But it soon wears off when you’re stuck at a hotel suite by yourself.
Ian Ugarte (27:19): I can trump you on that one, I went double Platinum with one airline last year, and-
Tony Meredith (27:23): Oh my gosh.
Ian Ugarte (27:24): … almost hit Platinum with the other airline. And the other airline I hate flying with, and it was because they didn’t offer flights, I had to fly with them. That was ridiculous, like stupid. I worked out a few years ago that I was on the road 265 days of a 365 day year. That’s stupid, that’s ridiculous.
Tony Meredith (27:44): It is, it is.
Ian Ugarte (27:46): Tell us about some of your deals.
Tony Meredith (27:48): Some of the deals? My first deal was a one into two, 1,000 square meter one into two corner lot. And it was in a southwestern Brisbane suburb, so it was all I could afford. And the house was in the perfect spot, it was on a corner, so it just had a large backyard. I had to go and get an approval, put a fence up, and effectively we created, not quite a free buckle in, but pretty close. We then built on it. I built a four bedroom, two bathroom two house. Just a standard spec home, and was able to sell that and made about 90 grand from that. That gave me the taste that, my gosh, this thing is possible. From there, I went and bought a one acre site a bit further out. Quite cheap, actually. I bought a one acre plot for $244,000, which is amazing.
Tony Meredith (28:35): If you’re listening in from Sydney or from Melbourne, it was 3,800 square meters for $244,000. Look, we’re almost through that, so we’ve made some good money out of that. We’re still going through it unfortunate, that’s one of the biggest problems. One of the things that I’ve, again, you talk about the bit that I’ve done is largely about property, is that it can take forever. And the bigger the deal that you’re in, the longer between payday. As if I didn’t get the lesson from that, I then went and bought almost a two hectare site an hour north of Brisbane.
Tony Meredith (29:10): That is a big, big project, we’re onto stage two of that. We’ve sold, we’ve saved one with credit, seven lots of land, we sold five. And in stage two, we’re creating five lots of land, and then stage three we’re still a bit unsure. We’ve had different ideas as to what we’ll do, but as the market keeps changing, we keep changing with it. But no, look, that’s a huge opportunity. But again, that was a very cheap purchase for us as well. 650 grand for almost two hectares, which is again, unheard of south of the Queensland border.
Ian Ugarte (29:42): It’s one of those things that I always the question to people that see me, talking about property, and I ask them, “Do you think I’m passionate about property?” They go, “Oh yeah. I’m passionate at property, and I see how passionate you are about property.” I go, “I’m not passionate about property.” It’s one of those things that does what it does because it does what I need it to do, and it’s my vehicle, and that’s what I choose to use as my vehicle. I could sell caravans as well. But I could use the tools that I’ve got over many, many years of businesses.
Ian Ugarte (30:17): What do you think is the biggest… there’s a couple of our clients, quite a few of our clients that have worked with you, and extraordinarily successful. I take as much credit as anyone else does for their amazing success, I actually take zero credit. I take zero credit for their success, and zero credit for their fuck ups as well. What’s the one main sticking point that when you’re coaching, that you see recurring over and over and over again for someone to achieve success?
Tony Meredith (30:48): Fear. Fear, they’re absolutely scared of, it could be a whole range of things. The biggest fear is the fear of criticism from other people. And it’s debilitating. Because of that, it comes down to it plays on your beliefs, and thoughts become things. I didn’t create this stuff, this stuff’s been here for 100s of years. But thoughts become things. And if you sit there and think about things from a vehicle standpoint or [inaudible 00:31:15] happening, or there’s Henry Ford saying, what, 100 years ago? “You think you can, or you think you can’t, either way you’re right.” And that’s the big thing that I see is that people are fearful. Fear, it rears its head in procrastination. Procrastination is related to fear.
Tony Meredith (31:31): And actually, at a group coaching I did last night, I talked through how do I overcome procrastination? Because one of the things is, for example, property, there’s this fear around dealing with real estate agents. And it absolutely floors them. It’s like, “Well, I’ve got to pull a real estate agent,” versus, “I’m going to go unclaim my bids.” Well, I’m going to go unclaim the bids, right? And so I’m avoiding doing these things that I should be doing. And it’s a whole process that you go through, but it’s fear. And the fear then leads to an inability to take action. And then ultimately that is it, right?
Tony Meredith (32:03): You run an educational program, and whilst the educational program is incredibly comprehensive, ultimately it’s about taking action with the things that you learned. Because it’s one thing to go along to a seminar or watch a YouTube clip or read a book or whatever it is, but you’ve got to get out on the field and you’ve got to roll the sleeves up and get into it. And that’s where the growth happens. And for so many people, they’re actually fearful to get it.
Ian Ugarte (32:31): Yeah. And that’s that one quote that I continuously say, you take the uncomfortable option every time because no level of successes come without some discomfort, right?
Tony Meredith (32:39): [crosstalk 00:32:39].
Ian Ugarte (32:39): And I do that, I do it in everything. I fail, I’m the best procrastinator in the world. I reckon I’d win a gold medal. But just simple things, like when I’m jogging. I run through my mind, I go, “I’m not feeling great right now, so I will finish at that point in the future.” And I go, “Well no, actually, I could get closer to home.” In which case the uncomfortable option is to get closer to home, I’m going to choose that one. And that trains your brain.
Tony Meredith (33:08): Course it does, course it does. And you and I know another guy who’s run 900 days in a row. And whilst he’s doing it for fitness, he’s actually doing it more from the mindset point of view of, he and I run, we do a weekly live together, we talk about mindset. And the thing that I always ask him is, “How many times in those 900 days have you felt like doing the running?” He said, “Oh, probably 10%.” I just think to myself, here’s a guy who has run 900 days in a row, who for 810 of them hasn’t felt like getting out of bed and doing the running, but yet he still does it.
Tony Meredith (33:43): Then when I apply that to business or property or health and wellness, whatever it might be, how often do people not feel like it? They listen to that feeling, and they sit back down and watch Netflix or do nothing about it. Like you said, you’ve got to push through that. I describe it as thinking greater than you feel, and that is that I’ve got to be able to get through this feeling because I know, and this guy knows, that when he finishes the run, the euphoria that he feels, the endorphins are raised, so he feels amazing. Even though at the start he doesn’t feel like it, but he does it. Again, I see this so, so often where it’s like, “Well I don’t feel like doing it, so I’ll have a sleep in, or I’ll put that off until tomorrow.” And this is why people don’t succeed.
Ian Ugarte (34:26): What does next year look like for you?
Tony Meredith (34:30): Year? Correct. It’s all about my business, coaching business. The properties will always be there for me, but it’s all about the business, coaching business. I’ve got a big goal, a big goal that in 2024 I’ve got a huge goal that I’m aiming for. It’s about growing that. It’s about I’m doing less and less now with the bit of programs with other people, and doing more and more [inaudible 00:34:48] stuff, and looking to scale up my business, and help small businesses. It doesn’t need to be as difficult for small businesses, but a lot of people struggle. And I understand that in this time, in 2020, there’s a lot of people feeling it tough right now. But I want to inspire people to get out there and forge your own path.
Tony Meredith (35:07): There’s plenty that people can do, and it’s about focus on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t. For me, it’s heavily in the sales, leadership, and mindset space. That’s the area that I focus on. From a, there’s accountants out there and there’s other people who are better at me in those paths, but it’s all about in the sales. I have two key philosophies, one is that sales cures all, and providing that you’ve got sales coming in the front door, then it tends to take care of everything else within the business. I got that from Tony Nash, who’s the founder of Booktopia. And I remember listening to him at a success resources event, and he talked about the early days, he was up against Amazon. And he was saying that for him, he kept focusing back in the business and how do I manage cashflow and how do I deal with creditors and whatnot?
Tony Meredith (35:52): But the light bulb just came on. He said, “But hang on. If I just get more sales and focus on getting more sales, obviously it’s got to be a profitable sale, then that’ll take care of all this other stuff within my business.” That’s the first one, sales cures all. And the second philosophy I have is that in order to build a better business, you need to build a better you. And that’s the whole mindset stuff. It’s like there’s a lot of people who are very good at specific tasks, but they’re not focusing on building a better them, building a better mindset, and being able to deal with those challenges, adversities that life inevitably throws at us. That’s my two key philosophies, and it’s about spreading that word as far and as wide as I can.
Ian Ugarte (36:29): What about your family? What’s the big year look like?
Tony Meredith (36:34): Yeah, well from a family point of view, we’ve gone through a really challenging family time this year. This has been really difficult. My son, [inaudible 00:36:42] last week, he [inaudible 00:36:44]. He’s been going through some mental health issues this year, and so that’s really changed my focus significantly. And being there for him, and looks like, touch wood, we’ve got him through that. I’ve got a 15 year old girl as well, and wanting to get her through the final years of her high school and then setting them up. From a holiday point of view, we don’t have any holidays planned in the short-term. But something certainly once we get closer to the end of the year we’ll do that. But look, it really has been a family focus on just getting my boy through what is a challenging time for any 17 year old. But then when you throw on the top some maybe love challenges, that it makes it all that harder.
Ian Ugarte (37:28): I’ve certainly had a really interesting week that’s created a new direction for me in the next little while as well because of one of my children as well. And they teach you so much, and the heartache of not being able to… if you could take on all their pain and all their stuff, you would do it. And it’s just something that you have to direct, you have to stand back more than anything. I feel and have complete empathy for what you’re going through and gone through, and it’s great that you can see the other side of it, that’s awesome. What would you say the-
Tony Meredith (37:58): Well it’s an-
Ian Ugarte (37:58): Go on, go on.
Tony Meredith (37:59): I was going to say, well it’s an opportunity for me to do what my dad did for me, you know what I mean? Again, all those years ago, when dad did what he did for me, and even though I wasn’t suffering from mental health, but I was in a challenging spot. And he did that for me. As a parent, that’s my responsibility, to help navigate and help these kids get out and live the fullest life they can.
Ian Ugarte (38:20): What would you say to anyone that is stuck in a place right now?
Tony Meredith (38:24): Yeah. If you’re stuck, that means that you’re looking backwards. You’re looking at the problem, and you’re not looking at the solution. The solution is in front of you. For me, it’s a case of you always want to look in the direction that you want to travel. If you’re looking at the problem, well then by definition you’re looking backwards. You want to ask yourself some questions if you’re stuck, and the first one is, how is it serving me by being stuck? Am I clear on what it is I actually want? That’s one of the big things. I boil it down first in development to three key things, I believe anyway.
Tony Meredith (38:56): One is your why, two is your what, and three is the belief. And your why is why are you saying this in first place? And I see it all the time, particularly in the property space, where people come into property because they’ve seen the Forbes Top 10 Richest [inaudible 00:39:12] property in there, and it’s like, “Well, I’m going to get into property.” And property is a long game. It’s a game that has ups and downs, and probably more downs than ups to be honest. Certainly my journey has. You really need to understand why you’re doing it in the first place. Get really clear on that. The other is then you’re what. What is it that you want? People say, “Well I want to create success in property.” Well, what is that?
Ian Ugarte (39:37): What does that mean?
Tony Meredith (39:37): If you earned $10 more, is that success in property? Of course, that’s not what they mean. It’s about getting really clear on the thing that you’re going for. And not just get clear on it once, but get clear on it, and then your mind [inaudible 00:39:50] each and every day. And if I go back to when I left my work, and even though I was fortunate enough to get redundancy, as I mentioned. I visualized myself giving my farewell speech for almost 18 months before I gave it. And in fact, I gave the speech four meters away from where I visualized myself each and every day from doing the speech. And I visualized the people, and I was so clear on it. I had the date, albeit the date was wrong in the end. But I was so clear on what it is that I wanted, and I’m so clear on what it is that I want in the future with my own coaching business.
Tony Meredith (40:26): Get clear on that, that’s the what, and the third one is the belief. And we touched on that a little bit before, but it’s about when you truly believe that you can do this, then you will do it. You will do what’s required to make it happen. And if there’s doubts that creep in, then it’s just never going to happen for you. You’ve got to work through that. To get clear on what you want, start to challenge yourself on why am I stuck, what is this thing that I’m focusing on, how is this serving me? That’s another question, could be what am I missing out on? What’s the opportunity cost for me sitting here in this stuck place, what am I missing out on? And when you start to go through this process, you start to loosen things up.
Tony Meredith (41:04): And then ultimately, it’s about, what am I going to do about it? And when we talk about what am I going to do, just start. I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins, and he talks about, “Take massive action,” all these things. I don’t agree with that. I agree, just take action. Just take some action, because then you’ll start to build [inaudible 00:41:22], and then before you know it you’ll be taking more action and more action and more action. Wherever you are in your life, your business, health and wellness, whatever it is, just take some action. Because progression is better than perfection, and so many people wait until everything’s lined up and it’s absolutely perfect, and I’ve got all of my ducks in a row, then I’m going to take action. And it’s like, that’s just a whole lot of crap.
Tony Meredith (41:44): And it’s about going, no, I’m going to start, and I’m going to figure out, and I’m going to be open to making enormous numbers of mistakes. You touched on it before, you make so many mistakes, and I make so many mistakes each and every day. But it’s what you do with those mistakes, but it’s about putting yourself in a position and being vulnerable to make the mistakes, because that’s where the magic happens. As opposed to going, well, I’m only going to wait until I get it all perfectly lined up.
Ian Ugarte (42:09): That’s awesome, Tony. The more I speak to people, the more I realize that all our messages are exactly the same, we just have different sentences to describe it, really. Thank you for being with us, thank you for being open and honest and letting us know about your life and-
Tony Meredith (42:24): [crosstalk 00:42:24].
Ian Ugarte (42:24): … your business, and the past of it as well. We’ll catch you pretty soon, I reckon.
Tony Meredith (42:29): Terrific. Thanks Ian, really appreciate the opportunity, thank you to you, and keep up the great work. I get to see you from a distance and all the wonderful things that you do, and as I said, I’ve worked with a couple of your students as well, and they have high regard for what you do. Keep it up, mate. You’re doing good.
Ian Ugarte (42:40): No worries. Thank you sailor. See you.
Tony Meredith (42:41): Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Thank you, bye.
Ian Ugarte (42:47): There you go, Tony Meredith Coaching who’s worked with a lot of our clients, who has a really great head space. And I’ve seen such success for people that work with us and work with him. If you want at more detail, simply go to Tony Meredith Coaching, and for us, as always, you’ve got Ian, you got a .com.au. For any information about what we do, please subscribe to the podcast, and make sure you share this with everyone around you. If you find some detail that’s important to you and you thought you got something out of today, then surely other people will as well. We’ll catch you in the next edition, and the next episode of Small Talk, Big Ideas podcast. See you.
Voice Over (43:21):
Thanks for tuning into the Small Talk, Big Ideas podcast. We hope we’ve succeeded in our goal to inspire and challenge you, and we look forward to catching you on the next episode of Small Talk, Big Ideas with Ian Ugarte.