For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My parents, my upbringing, my wife, my family and friends. Growing up in Narromine, New South Wales (Australia).
If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Nothing, I was lucky. I had it all.
What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Look at things from different angles. Try and see where others are coming from, i.e. their upbringing, and try not to judge because I have never walked in their shoes or felt their pain.
How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
Because we are all individuals and have different tastes and likes. Also each of us only know what we know. Happiness to me is being grateful for what you have got and making the most of it. It starts from within and also begins with our choices.
Why are you, you?
Because I would make a lousy someone else (Zig Ziglar). I am just me because of who my family is and how I was raised. I am just me because I like to help people. I am just me because I am ok being me.
Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
Great question this Jodie. I like hanging on to what I got so keep my old memories, though at my age they are fading fast.
Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
Yes that is true, I am forever asking people why do we need to work everything out? The sky is BLUE because it is blue, water is wet because it is wet. We just need to accept somethings for what they are. Otherwise we complicate matters.
Has your greatest fear ever come true?
No. My greatest fear is drowning. I got caught in a water-truck when I was young and I could not find the hole at the top. My younger brother Noel Jnr put his arm in the hole and I felt his hand, otherwise I would not be typing these answers. Call it fate, meant to be, whatever you like, but I was destined that day to do what I do now... Maybe.
Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
Yes about 5-6yrs ago I lost my sister, Narelle. But, Bird & Fish. I know where she is. Matters like this matter now but she is not gone. She is in every memory, in my heart and in my veins. There is another matter that upset me about that time ago when someone betrayed me. But I forgave them and moved on. I won’t forget but I chose to forgive for my health and well being.
At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
I always feel alive and well when I go home to Narromine and also Brewarrina. I live in Coffs Harbour and people say that is lovely. But Narromine is home. Also spending some time with Jill my wife on a cruise recently. You see I travel all the time with my job and Jill knows that my work is important to me and gives me no grief, so to take her on a cruise to say thanks for supporting me to do what I do was sensational. It was nice say thanks to her.
When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
That time is all the time. I worry about what I can control not what I can’t (Bird & Fish), so if I can control it I will. if I can’t, I won’t. Doing what you know is right sometimes takes courage but the reward for it is unexplainable.
What are you pretending not to know?
I am pretending not to know that being a proud Aboriginal man, obese and with diabetes and being on the run all the time, that my health will keep going well. I know that sooner or later it will catch up with me. I justify to myself that if I die, I am going, fat, black and happy. But I don’t wish to be a burden to anyone either. So I have been trying to make some better choices.
If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
I don’t really like the word teach. I believe that sharing is a better word. I am sharing tools with people to help them make better choices in their life. I get strength from people who step up and that makes me happy. People have thanked me for sharing these tools in their lives, but the reality is that they are the ones helping me in my life - they give me reason to get up and to continue what I do - to help people.
We learn from our mistakes, yet we’re always so afraid to make one. Where is this true for you? And which mistakes do you wish we would all stop making?
We are all going to make mistakes. It is a natural learning thing. Our choices can lead to our mistakes. It is not the fall (mistake), it is how we get back up (the lesson learnt from the mistake).
I wish we would all stop worrying about the things we can’t control.
Stop living our lives in fear. (Though I understand that this is difficult without tools and knowing).
Help others without expecting something in return.
Life is not a popularity contest. Just be yourself those that love you, love you.
What do you most connect with? Why?
People and nature. I understand people, how they work. It is hard to put this into words without sounding full of yourself. But yes, people and nature. We can learn so much from nature if we just take the time to connect to it.
Do you find yourself influencing your world, or it influencing you?
It definitely influences me. As for influencing our world I believe that we are all out there doing the best with what we got. We get one chance at this life live it the best you can. I am just grateful to be a part of it.
Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you’re doing?
I am definitely doing something I believe in.
Have you been the kind of friend you’d want as one?
In a changing world, I know that if you have not got family and friends then you have nothing. I would like to think I am a good friend to people. But all I can be is me. I can’t control the rest.
We’re always making choices. Are you choosing for your story or for someone else’s?
A bit of both I think. I understand what I do is not who I am, though it is a part of me. I have some talking contradictions that I use.
Spread Out & Stick Together – We meet and take a little bit of one another when we go
Follow me I am right behind you – Share or lead and then come behind and support and nurture.
Life, what you put into it is what you get out of it – Live it the best you can, you only get one chance.
Spread Out and Stick Together
Thank you Tom for sharing your thoughts and wisdom in yet another inspiring Conversation on the Couch. You gave me goosebumps with your beautiful outlook. You make everything seem so simple and although I've said it before, I'll say it again - why doesn't everyone think like Tom Powell? You can find Tom at Red Dust Healing or read more in our article on him here. Thank you again Tom. And as Tom says - "Spread Out and Stick Together."