I always remind myself that life is a series of ups and downs. I have learnt that I need fortitude

when I have my down times, and I need gratitude in good times.

This past week has been one of those enjoyable “up” times. I am grateful to have a wife who is

deeply committed to up-skilling.

Her desire for continued learning took her to the beautifully quaint city of Cairns, in Australia to attend a conference for holistic veterinarians.

The conference was held by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS). Yes, there

is such a global body, and it does sterling work in the field of alternative and complementary


About 150 doctors from around the world got together, and discussed various holistic

veterinary medicine modalities.

My wife, Susanna met like-minded practitioners, exchanged ideas on treatment regimes, and generally had an excellent time learning.

The really good part for me was that I got to tag along, I was the plus-one, doctor’s spouse, at

this conference.

I roamed the streets of Cairns, went to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, was fortunate to

spend some time at the Tjupakai Aboriginal Cultural Park, the indigenous people of northern

Queensland, and got to sample some of the best produce that the world has to offer.

After the conference, we headed off to the beautiful Hamilton Island. This is the only inhabited

island amongst the Whitsundays on the Coral Sea.

I am grateful for this opportunity and gave myself a pat on the back, for working smart enough

to be able to afford a trip like this.

Throughout my vacation the most striking thing for me has been the professionalism in the

service industry here.

The excellence of any service is dependent on the people you interface with. I have understood

the significance of delivering an outstanding customer experience, more than ever. It is not

Australia that made this holiday lovely, but it was its people, who represented the country so

amazingly well.

I want to share with you why and how you can be professional at work, too.

Remember that you want to get ahead at work. Concentrate on increasing your personal value.

And for this, you need your bosses to know that you are an asset to your company, and for your


For example, nearly everyone I met here would be a tremendous talent in any one of the

businesses that I own. Instantly, this increases their personal value. In fact on this trip, I offered

two people I met, jobs in Malaysia.

What does it take to be professional at work? Just follow these three personal leadership rules!

The first is to focus on your competency. You must be good at what you do, and you must have

the skills and knowledge that will enable you to do your work well.

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Hamilton Island, called Tako. The food was excellent.

But even more so, was our server Patrice. She sauntered up confidently to our table, greeted us

with genuine warmth, proceeded to explain the uniqueness of this restaurant, and the best way

to experience the menu. She made our experience exceptional.

Patrice exemplified professionalism by simply being competent.

The next is, be reliable. It is one of the most sought after values in any employee.

We went on a few excursions, and on each, we were picked up on time, and the promised

service was delivered without compromise. In Cairns, we booked a Segway tour to the Botanical

Gardens. Our guide, Craig Chalmers was totally reliable. He expertly taught us how to handle

the potentially dangerous Segway. He focused on giving us the best experience by looking after

our safety. And, all the while he was funny, engaging and full of local knowledge.

Craig showed professionalism by his reliability.

The third and final rule, is that you must stay work-focused at all times. Everyone has problems,

there’s no doubt. But none of the people we met, allowed their problems to impact their

attitude at work.

We took a catamaran to get out to the Great Barrier Reef. While the views of the reef were

spectacular, the water was a tad cold. So, Susanna and I opted to do massages instead, on the

pontoon. Our masseuse was the lovely and skilled Tamara. Can you imagine having to work on

arguably one of the most spectacular sea views on the planet? There was not an ounce of

irritation that she had to work while the rest of us were basking in the sunshine. It was probably

the best massage I have ever experienced.

Tamara is a professional because she is completely focused, when at work.

Become professional. Do it because you understand how important it is. See your personal

value grown in leaps and bounds, once you make this your nature.

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