.Issue 8, October 2001

...home :: book :: seminars :: philosophy :: clients :: biography :: contact

Dear [[Name]],

Welcome to the October issue of the Back off newsletter, as we move into the seventh month of production our subscriber base continues to grow with over 4000 currently subscribed and hundreds more joining each month.
The tragic events of September 11th need no further comment from this publication but they do serve as a less than subtle reminder that we live in an ever changing world, and that those changes are not always for the best. I have chosen the issue of motivation for this months feature article as I firmly believe that it is not so much the situations that we face in life that determines the results that we get, but rather our ability to control the way that we think.

A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email to you all outlining a public seminar that I am involved in towards the end of November. I spoke with the promoters earlier today who told me that they are getting a steady stream of people signing up for the Sydney seminar on Sunday the 25th of November. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you about the 'Reach' seminar as it may be info that you wish to pass on to others. A full outline of the seminar can be found at www.reachtour.com

As you receive this months issue you will be preparing to head into the final quarter of the year, with many of you heading back into 4th term. I trust that you enjoy the information we have put together and that it assists you in gathering momentum as we head towards the end of the year.

Thanks, as always, for all your feedback and emails.

Thanks for your support.
Take care, your friend

'I have always believed throughout my life that the only limitations I have are those that I place upon myself.'
- Muhammad Ali
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


It has been said that if success is the desired destination, then motivation is the fuel required to getting you there. Certainly in a conflict situation victory always belongs to those most motivated to win. In fact if you look at anything you have ever achieved in life it is your motivation that has driven you to that achievement.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples I have witnessed of the power of motivation, combined with belief and a will to succeed, was in a seminar I conducted over five years ago. I was presenting a half-day seminar to thirty female employees of a large corporation in the city. During the presentation I spoke about the importance of positive thinking, self-motivation and fear management along with offender psychology and strategies for dealing with confrontation ranging from verbal harassment through to sexual assault. We concluded the seminar with a short session on physical strikes. I was returning the following week to discuss weapons, gangs and a range of other situations. At the conclusion of this first session I thanked the women for attending and looked forward to seeing them all the following week. The seminar was being conducted on the sixth floor of a large training centre, which meant the women had to take the lift to the basement to collect their cars and return to work. As I began to pack my notes away I was approached by one of the women from the course. The conversation we had over the following five to ten minutes continues to be a great motivating tool that I regularly use in my seminars.

The lady, who we will call Mary, told me that she had come into the room three hours ago believing that she could never defend herself. I appreciated her honesty and presumed that she was about to inform me how everything had changed and that she could now effectively deal with any of the situations we had covered during the course. But how wrong I was. Mary went on to tell me that not only had her attitude not changed but that the course was, in fact, an absolute waste of time. She thought none of this positive thinking crap worked in the real world and no way was she coming back next week to listen to more of this garbage. As you can appreciate, I was a little taken aback, so in an attempt to buy some time, I asked Mary if she could, perhaps, expand on her, somewhat less than glowing, evaluation of my presentation. Mary told me she was thirty-two years old and, thankfully, had never been attacked but if she was there was nothing she could do about it anyway and that this course had not changed that fact!

Mary had come into the seminar with a brick wall up in front of her mind that you could not have driven a tank through! However, I pressed on regardless. I asked Mary if she could actually give me an example of a confrontational situation that she would be unable to get out of. She said, "I'll give you a bloody example all right!" and pointed towards the door. I have no doubt this 'example' had been on Mary's mind all morning. She said, "If I walked out that door now, got into the lift and went down to the basement to get my car, and some bloke was to jump out and grab me, I couldn't defend myself. I couldn't suddenly become all motivated, think positively and miraculously get out of the situation. I'd just freeze. I wouldn't be able to do anything and none of this stuff you're going on about would make any difference." The problem was, Mary actually believed this, and with thirty-two years of negative conditioning to support her belief, I am not surprised. I told Mary I was sorry for wasting three hours of her time but if she could give me just a few more minutes I may be able to sort something out. She reluctantly agreed.

I realised I had one chance to break through this negative mindset. I tried a technique that I had used several times before and many times since, but I had never had a reaction as powerful as the one I was about to witness.

Mary sat down alongside me at a desk in the training room and I again asked her to discuss her feelings about the course. I let her go on for a couple of minutes about how motivation does not work, how you can't change the way you think and how if you can't do something then that's it you can't do it. After a couple of minutes, having observed Mary's wedding ring, I asked her if she was married. She said she was. I asked her if she had any children. She told me she had a little girl, who was eighteen months old. I asked her the name of the child, she told me, and I then asked her to tell me about her daughter. Suddenly Mary become 'mum', her whole facial expression changed, her body language relaxed and she spoke lovingly about her little daughter. As a father of a little girl I can understand this. Having a child has been described to me as growing another heart, an analogy most parents could relate to. After chatting about her daughter for a couple of minutes and viewing the obligatory photographs that materialised from Mary's wallet I asked her if she would do something for me. I asked her if she could imagine her daughter being here in the room with us. She said, as any parent would, that she could easily picture her little girl being in the room. I told her to hold that picture in her mind and imagine that she was now leaving with her daughter, walking across the training room, through the hall and into the lift. Once in the lift I asked Mary to imagine lifting her daughter up so she could press the 'B' button which would take them down to the basement. As you can see I was about to put Mary back into the situation she had spent the last five to ten minutes telling me she couldn't get out of. The only difference is this time she will be in the situation with her daughter. Read on and look at what happened to thirty-two years of negative conditioning.

I asked Mary to imagine the lift had reached the basement, the doors had opened and she was now walking through the basement with her daughter to collect her car. I told her to picture herself holding her little girls' hand as they walked and to imagine that just as they were about to reach the car she hears the screeching of car tyres behind them. She turns around to see a man jumping out of the car in a black balaclava, black T-shirt, jeans and a pair of runners. The man is running toward her, but he doesn't want Mary- he wants her little girl. Before I tell you what I said next to Mary please bear in mind that, through her own admission, Mary had carried a belief for thirty two years that she was incapable of defending herself, or anyone else, in any type of physical confrontation. I had one chance to break through that conditioning, and here is how we did it.

I told Mary that if she did not protect her daughter the man would grab her and take her back to his car. I got Mary to imagine her little girl being taken away by this stranger and how she would be screaming out for her mummy. I told her to think about how frightened her daughter would be and to imagine her being thrown into the car, her little face crying as she stares out the back window as the car disappears out of the car park. I told Mary this man would take her daughter away and do terrible things to her and that she may never see her again. I then said, "Mary, what are you going to do to this guy?" She said, "I'd kill him." I asked, "How would you do that exactly?" Well not only did she tell me, she leapt up off her chair and gave me a very graphic illustration of how she would do it!

She started screaming at the top of her voice and viscously punching out at the imaginary kidnapper. She threw him to the floor, grabbed a handful of hair and, still screaming, showed me how she would repeatedly smash the guys face into the concrete floor again and again and again! She concluded this frighteningly lifelike defence of her daughter by getting back to her feet and repeatedly sinking her right foot into the offender's face, head, stomach and groin. At this point I felt I should intervene before Mary turned her newly discovered skills in my direction. I thanked Mary for her explanation and very quietly asked her if she would like to sit down. Even as she sat down her fists were still clenched and her eyes were as mean as a prize-fighter.

When she had eventually calmed down a little I asked her the obvious question- "Mary, ten minutes ago you repeatedly told me that if you went down to the basement and some guy grabbed you, you would be absolutely helpless, totally unable to defend yourself and nothing I could say would make any difference to that. Now you're fighting back like a Ninja! What happened?" Mary looked up from the ground after a few moments, a wide grin covering her face and said, "Brent, I could defend myself couldn't I." I said, "Yes, if you believe it." I will never forget what happened next. Mary got up off her seat and confidently strode toward the door shouting out "Yes! Yes!" as she punched both fists into the air triumphantly and made her way down to the basement. God help any poor bloke that crossed Mary that afternoon!

Mary's story highlights many important aspects of self-protection. Did Mary just suddenly develop the ability to physically defend herself and her daughter? No, the ability was always there, she simply tapped into it by getting motivated. For most of her life Mary believed she was incapable of physically defending herself. Whenever she imagined being in a confrontational situation she had a picture of herself failing and being beaten. All I did was change the mental picture, rather than seeing herself being attacked I got Mary to imagine her daughter was the one in danger. At that moment her motivation to succeed was greater than her fear of failing and, in a heartbeat, a lifetime of negative conditioning disappeared. Not only did Mary instantly realise she had the ability to protect her little girl, but she also had the ability to protect herself.

I honestly believe every girl or woman reading this article has the ability to protect herself in any type of confrontation. Not only are you born with this ability, but also with the instinct to defend yourself against danger. Look at every other species on the planet and you will find it is the female of the species who is the protector, she is the one who fiercely protects her young and trains them to defend themselves and how to hunt. Never question your ability to achieve anything in life, your ability is never in question. If you do not believe you have the ability to succeed it is not your ability you should question, but rather your belief in your ability.

I think Mary taught us all a great lesson. At times we allow ourselves to be conditioned into believing we 'can't' do this or we 'can't' do that, where in actual fact we can do whatever we want to do, we sometimes just need to get motivated.

This point is eloquently made by a quotation Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford motor company, had made into a plaque and hung on the wall of his office, the quote read-

"Whether a person thinks they can, or whether a person thinks they can't, they are always right."

Once we have the ability to control the way we think we have the ability to control any situation we are confronted with. I have always believed that the keys to succeeding in self-protection are the same as the keys to succeeding in anything in life. It is not the situation that determines the outcome, but rather the motivation the person takes into that situation.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

- Reporting a sexual offence to the police is a waste of time - they probably won't even believe you - it's just your word against his.

- I often hear this comment made during the course of my seminars. It is not my place to tell anybody what to do following a sexual offence, however, I do feel that the choice that you make should be based on more than urban myth and misinformation. Sexual crime is statistically the least likely crime to be falsely reported. A recent Australian study stated that less than 2% of sexual crime reported to the police was found to be false. Based on that fact alone I find it hard to believe that women reporting such a serious offence discover that the police don't believe what they are saying. I would always advise reporting a sexual offence to a member of a police sexual crime unit as these officers are specifically trained in this area and are always experienced investigators. You also have the right to request that you provide your statement to an adequately trained female police officer if you are uncomfortable discussing the matter with a male officer.

With regard to it coming down to 'your word against his' this is not how the legal system works. Certainly any criminal offence has to be 'proved beyond reasonable doubt' prior to an offender being found guilty, however the police investigation is purely designed to gather information and evidence to support your side of the story. By the time the case gets into court is has traveled well beyond simply being your word against his.

Of course not all cases reported end up in court, and not all that do result in a conviction, but this is the same for any offence, not just sexual crime. The choice of reporting a sexual offence is a choice that can only be made by the individual involved - don't allow that choice to be influenced by misinformation and outdated attitudes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Q. How can you be sure that you will do the right thing in a conflict situation when you are over-come by fear?

A. As with everything in life there is no real guarantee that in a conflict situation you will be able prevent it, or get yourself to safety. However, the greater the amount of knowledge you take into the situation the more options you have to get out. I think that the thing that causes the greatest amount of fear is simply not knowing what to do. Once a person knows what the best strategy is and believes in their ability to do it I believe their fear will decrease dramatically and their ability to take control of the situation will increase.

Q. What if the strategy you choose doesn't work - then what?

A. You have no way of knowing whether your strategy will work or fail until you actually put it into action. If what you are doing isn't working you are left with two options; Keep trying until it does or try something else. Remember anything is better than doing nothing.


A major study conducted by the Behavioral Studies Unit of the FBI found that one common denominator in their study of serial sex offenders and serial killers was that they had all experienced neglect or physical abuse by their parents within the first 12 months of their life. This is not to say that every boy who experiences such abuse will automatically turn into a serial offender, however it does indicate that offenders are often a product of a dysfunctional family environment.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


But I will forever carry the feeling of victory, and it will serve me in whatever I do. I have seen what is possible and what can happen with the joining of spirit and body. I have seen with amazing clarity the capability of one person performing with focus, efficiency, and fury, with the confidence of someone who has worked as hard as they possibly can. I have looked the dragon in the eyes and I have laid him out flat.

- Michael Johnson - champion runner.


A couple of tips from 'Dan the man' to keep in your back pocket when your out and about:

"Keep a close eye on your girlfriend(s) if she starts to get a little bit under the weather after a few too many drinks. If you have seen that she's drunk you can be sure some of the guys have as well. This can often lead to a nasty situations."

"One of the more common situations that can lead to unwanted sexual contact is in a guys car having accepted a lift home. Always think long and hard before accepting such an invitation. The guys that are the problem will often use this situation to put pressure on a girl having got her isolated from her friends."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Although we had a lot of correspondence over the past few weeks we only received one letter for this segment. So if you can pass on any situation that you have been able to sort out that you think others would benefit from hearing about drop us an email via the link in this segment.

Dear Brent,

I just wrote to say thank you for giving me the skills to escape a dangerous situation, you came to my school about 6 months ago and within 2 months I was able to use your advise.
I live in the Belmore area and I was walking home from school on a quite secluded street that I have walked 100 times. I just felt so safe walking that way. Anyway a car drove past me, there was a group of guys in the car and they were staring at me. They drove away - but only around the block. They came back and drove up alongside me asking me things, at first it was, "can you give me directions?" But when I didn't answer they got angry and started getting really abusive. They stopped, I started to run but they caught up with me. I switched the 'bitch switch', I knew I couldn't out run them, so I turned around and started screaming, punching and scratching. I can remember biting on a guy's leg as hard as I could. After a short time the driver came up to them and said to forget it because there were people around.
If I hadn't decided to fight them off I think that some terrible things might have happened to me.
Thank you.

ML - Sydney

E-MAIL YOUR QUESTIONS OR STORIES TO brent@winningedgestrategies.com.au
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


'Never question your ability. It's your belief in your ability that determines your success." - Marvin Hagler, Boxer.

'Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else do it for you.'

'Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for your own life.'

The "Back Off" Newsletter is published by
Winning Edge Strategies PO BOX 1879 BONDI JUNCTION NSW 2022 Phone: 02 9665 1312 Fax: 02 9665 1612
Copyright 2001, Winning Edge Strategies. All rights reserved.
e-campaign by: