Angus Willison is an entrepreneur having founded and sold a number of businesses. He was one of the first to broker energy in the NZ market. He built an online fishing equipment business. He currently runs Willison Ltd a management consulting business.
More recently Over The Hill – a bee keeping and honey proprietary business or maybe just a soft reference to our aging bodies. Angus is the father of two daughters and one son Fergus (15) Rachel (13) and Celia (17).
ADAM: Hello, hello, hello, dads of the world great to have you with me again for another episode of the number one dad Podcast on the internet. Adam Baldock here with another inspiring dad, Angus Willison. Angus is an entrepreneur having founded and sold a number of businesses. Angus was one of the first to broker energy in the New Zealand market. He built an on-line fishing equipment business. He currently runs Willison Limited, a management consulting business and more recently Over the Hill, a bee keeping and honey proprietary company. Or maybe just a soft reference to our ageing bodies. Angus is the father of two daughters and one son, Fergus at 15, Rachel at 13, and Celia at 17. Great to have you with me today, Angus Willison.
ANGUS: Hi Adam, how you going?
ADAM: Good mate, good. How’s the sunny weather over there in New Zealand?
ANGUS: Well it’s clear and cold at the moment. We’ve been having a bit – it is the winter it isn’t been too big but it’s certainly being a real winter that’s for sure.
ADAM: Absolutely, shocking over here in Melbourne, so yeah, but you know that’s the way it is. So I’ve given a bit of insight into you Angus, give us a bit more about the family and what you guys get up to.
ANGUS: Well if it is the same to you, just prior to starting the interview, I have been reading a lot the other dads that are on there. And and you know my kids and I guess my relationship, my marriage is a little bit older and a little bit more you know I was going to say mature but nobody gets [murmuring] We are a family that has – we have really concentrated on being inclusive to the point of making sure that the family comes first. We have a philosophy of eating together every night with the kids. I don’t really want to know the details to a large extent but I do want to know we’re there. So you know, not a control it’s just simple being inclusive and you know demonstrating I guess our perspective an my perspective that we care. So, you know a little bit of background to us, we spent – I think I weighted it out the other day out of the last 20 years we’ve lived on boats about 11 years and travelled quite extensively.
ADAM: Yeah, I was really interested to dive into that and you’ve come into that quite early. So, yeah takes us through that because that’s a really interesting sort of place and not a lot of families do it and I know that you’ve taken your girls and Fergus around the world on a sailing boat a number of times. So, take us through that that would be amazing.
ANGUS: Well we – I don’t know as you may recall we’re living in Melbourne and we actually cruised that of Melbourne for – we have a sailing boat and we were cruising out of Melbourne. I should maybe back up a bit, in ’89 so that’s a really – we went to Melbourne on a recommendation of one of my uncles who headed up a particular science department at RMIT. It was – I graduated from University with a non –specific academic degree in Geography and anthropology at the end of 88 which is some of your listeners are old enough to remember that 87 was the last – well one of the stock market crashes. So basically this uncle of mine sort of said, “Okay, well he simply – the employment section is too the Melbourne age and said you know, “If you can’t get a job in New Zealand if you want you can go here.” So at the beginning of 89 after I graduated we headed to Melbourne. Within days and I am not kidding you, within days we were employed. I have never used that degree quite frankly. I went off and I was selling yellow pages all the time which of course you know now the yellow pages is nothing compared to what it was. In Melbourne book in those days was 130 million dollars worth of advertising so, yeah it was hard days and holidays for us. We were earning I think in my first year I earned 90,000 Australian plus cars in all the world, so we had a pretty good front.
ADAM: Not a bad starting wage for a graduate.
ANGUS: Yeah. Well and then trucks overseas and all sorts so, you know we’ve gone from board lollies to chocolates really as far as working was concerned. But you know we – it had always been on my radar to go away yachting now. I married a girl from a McKenzie country so that was always going to be a challenge for here – challenge to me. So we ended up – well we not to cut the long story short but we ended up buying a boat that we touched from Henley Beach down to Melbourne. We put it in the yard; we basically refitted it and then a short period after that we moved on board to enable us to save a decent amount of money. So we didn’t cruise on and off for a period of time out of Melbourne which we… …and then we decided that we come back to New Zealand to start a family year. We ended up in Singapore and Anna had some health issues and we decided that it would be best to put the boat on a ship which in ‘97 was fairly unusual, so I… …and we then put that on to a ship and shipped it back to New Zealand. So, it was always on the radar that we were going to go back to sea. I call it a disease or a curse but I just I feel heaviest when we sort of track some of that at sea. So, anyway, so came back to New Zealand and Anna got pregnant fairly quickly. We then bought houses and I went to work for an electricity retailer here in New Zealand. And I have soon worked there but we weren’t going to go anywhere terribly fast if I continue to work with somebody. So, you know we were breeding children over the rate of one every 18 months, as I would guess.
ANGUS: Sort of a bit of a strain on the woman producing them and the bloke, that was out there sort of feeding them. So, –
ADAM: Yeah, I hear you.
ANGUS: Which is one by the company and we formed the company to effectively buy their electricity. And yeah, you know within four years we had three children and we’ve moved out of Auckland and into the country and the house and yeah, in 2006 we turned around and said, “Okay, well let’s take a few months off and takes the kids up to… …so we actually had bought a bigger boat at that time. And we took them up and the youngest Rachel was just three at that time so we waited until she was toiled trained and couldn’t [murmuring] at sea.
ANGUS: And living up – lived in new kind of day for the winter which was just fantastic. And we sailed to New Zealand and decided that we better get off in journey in the truck and then probably solve that business. The advisory that broke in business. And refitted the bike and I actually sold that product directly from New Zealand to French Polynesia and to Tahiti. And we were going to head up to the West Coast of America but we decided that we wouldn’t do that so we sailed closer to home and we came back across the Pacific and ended up in actually ended up sailing home from Hobart in Tazmania. So yeah, as a family we sort of – we had sort of pursue living in big houses and driving European cars and changing restaurants. We’ve stretched every dollar to do things and see places and experience them. Yeah, most of the time it’s been pretty good sometimes its –
ADAM: A challenge.
ANGUS: Pretty challenging but, yeah, if I look back on it now I don’t think I would honestly change anything because you know the highs have been just fantastic and the lows doesn’t seem, that bad so, yeah. So I hope that sort of answers your query mate.
ADAM: Absolutely and I believe it’s paid off reasonably well introducing your kids to sailing very early. I believe they are doing very well in the young person’s sailing arena and national champions and going to the world or something. Did I hear that correctly?
ANGUS: Well e got – well Celia who so she’s 17 and she‘s quite an interesting character. She – what I would almost call is almost ruthless and –
ADAM: Love it.
ANGUS: Well she is focused and disciplined and tact. And she always had that. She was always there or thereout in the option of doing what she is quite frankly she’d be great and it’s got an international recognition and now the kids take the opportunity to travel. She had never travelled internationally with that – with those teams, she was always just out of it, out of that circle. However last year in the sailing class which is single handed dingy and it’s a very hard performance thing [murmuring] and she went to Japan and raced another class of boat and actually came third.
ANGUS: So she was the top female and got third in the regatta. And then she got picked up by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for their youth training programme and I think in October she’s in Sydney… …throughout the country as well. So, so she’s pretty focused on doing that sort of thing. I think in the heart of heart she’d really like to be a professional sailor but at the end of the day, it’s very hard for females to make it on their own. And then Rachel who’s 12 year old she sometimes do wind surfing in New Zealand so –
ANGUS: Yeah, and it’s quite a lot. You know as much as you’d like them to do well quite frankly, they got to do it themselves because it’s a [murmuring] sport. And you know the other thing is that you know we are the same we even not want to or not have the capacity except the fun for instance the [murmuring] that is required to do you know an Olympic size practice.
ANGUS: We’re talking – if your kids are focused on going to the Olympic, Olympic trials, you’d probably at least need to put 30 grand into at least or maybe more, 40 grand each kid.
ANGUS: That would never really – you know I just and then [murmuring] one and a hundred of those will eventually end up at the Olympics.
ADAM: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, well mate you can still keep dreaming of retirement right?
ANGUS: One could have.
ADAM: Excellent. So let’s get stuck into you, anyway Angus and what would the dads of the world really want to hear. So tell us so what type of father do you think you are?
ANGUS: As a father, as I see in my sort of I have insisted on an inclusive environment. I have as a father I have made sure I will not tolerate especially in fighting amongst the kids. And I had an instance when Fergus was still – we have a – he’s still at primary school so he would have been 12. Anyways some smutty comments going around and the boys school about a girl. And I took him aside and I said, “How would you feel if those comments were about one of your sisters?” And he said to me,”Oh, now that wouldn’t be goods, wouldn’t it?” I said, “No it wouldn’t would it so you would want to opt out of that conversation and we want to make sure that your mates know that you are interrupting no one.” So, you know as father I must have set the bar really high for my kids as far as the – for the ethical and their standards of concern as far being – well I have been married to Anna and now next year I’d be married to her 25 years.
ADAM: Wow mate yeah, good work.
ANGUS: We got married really young but you know I was then 25 and she was 23 but you know, and then most guys well if they’re really honest well sometimes you look at the woman and sense, “Who the hell are you and did I marry you or did I?” But you know, loyalty is a big thing in our family and as me individually, I have – my father’s is 84, mum and dad has been married 50 – don’t know, 53, 54 years whatever it is, you know? I always know when they’re doing well because they’re bitching and moaning at each other and you know they crack. So, like my father I have decided… …we’re a bit challenging time when you know they sort of meeting to learn some work whatever doesn’t come and work for me in the bee keeping business but bee keeping is physically extremely hard work and you know boys at 14 you know they’re not up to it quite frankly… …but – so they rather go and work for somebody else and if the kind of pick by somebody else so. I have always sort of been quite engaged with – by helping them find work and you know and helping them understand what they do need to do to be a good worker and have some real advice and pride and do all that sort of – yeah. But I don’t muddle along that one.
ADAM: Indeed, indeed. And just to comeback on your point here about your son looking to work for someone else. I wonder if that also falls into yeah, if he reads a lot of Steve Biddoff’s material particularly raising his book, Raising Boys. He talks a lot about in there about that 14 and beyond years are the years where boys tend to need external male influence as their guide. So I wonder if that’s part of that whole growing up process that the boys seek to get their asses kicked as you said elsewhere then rather with their dad. So you know, that’s just putting it out there.
ANGUS: Yeah, I think that – I also think that you know our kid quite frankly, you know they have lived an extremely privileged life and the largest thing in their life. So if I wanted to go you know go cycle or go riding mountain bike they said the financial resolve to do that. Now, so I actually think that going on to a holiday job where they’re like figuring have been working in the pawnshop. Now those guys are…
ANGUS: Honestly. And you know what, change has come out of Parnell which is any of your listeners know is probably one of the most expensive suburbs in New Zealand. To go and work in a punch shop down in the waterfront, be there at 7:30 in the morning and work until 4:00 in the cold windy draft as shit, it’s actually good for privilege but what you have learned that you know hard working, low pay and dealing with the whole bunch of…
ADAM: Yeah, love it. So what about your biggest struggle over the starangus? What’s been – what have you found the toughest?
ANGUS: As a dad or as in terms of like my solution because I made a few notes and quite frankly, it’s been a really struggle that this will make I am sure will make one of the hardest laughs but you know –
ADAM: Tell us about it.
ANGUS: Well you know, I just sort of just wrote through some of my notes here where you know, I have never held a baby until I held my own baby. And in my mind, you know the child wasn’t going to interrupt my plans and what I was going to do. Well, that went all out the window at 100 miles an hour. You know quite frankly I have sort of, I laugh at myself. I absolutely laugh at myself because I had the view of the world and it wasn’t going to get altered by a kid and shit, I must be one of the most altered father’s you know, my life went out the door when those kids arrived and I was happy for them to be there. So I had to know which was to hold the baby and you know I didn’t know that. Thankfully, Anna’s was brought around babies from a very young age as her mother was a midwife so you know I had a fairly good teacher and I was fairly lucky in that instance. And quite frankly, and it took the kid all the feeding in the middle of the night and that sort of thing so, I didn’t get up in the middle of the night and that worked for me.
Fluoxetine no prescription ADAM: Lucky me.
ANGUS: So, Fergus as a little boy, he’s a bright boy but he’s also – he’s going to do it his way. So he was even in the middle of a difficult… …And he got to a point where he wouldn’t go to sleep without a smack in the bun. And after a few months I thought, “This is just weird, this is just not working” and I really didn’t know what to do. Yeah, you talk about… … I’ve got all those and you know I haven’t – having a kid is not a long – term proposition not even for you. So you know, when is this going to work out and work out what to do work out what to then? You know he still doesn’t go to bed easily and so I guess the length of –
ADAM: You still giving him a smack on the bun are you?
ANGUS: No, no. No I haven’t and I probably only gave him half a dozen smack on the bun but because I didn’t want that side of it. I didn’t want that sort of thing happening. I come from an age where that was normal you know? We still got the cane at school and you know it’s kind of like well, I didn’t really want that to happen. But anyway Celia was a little girl and extremely sure and so she’s been easy to be around. So, she was only 16 months older than Fergus so, naturally I kind of and I guess it was the male/female connection I sort of found it easy to be around her than him. Now I was conscious about some moments, you know I didn’t sort of let that – let that sort of get away on me. And you know as a female and she was quite manipulative even as a little girl. And I sensed you know females with their fathers are manipulative.
ANGUS: You’ve got to be – you know you got to sort of let – to a certain extent you got to let it happen but to a certain extent you also got to be mindful of it. So, anyway, so that you know challenge there and then Rachel came back. Rachel was our little – first weekend away and a number of years and suddenly she was along the way which you know I personally wanted more children but I kind of – having Rachel along the way was like, bloody hell, there’s another one coming along. Well and then, I guess the other thing is coming to terms with you know including myself quite sort of – suddenly yes. And you got the wife who is at home looking after the three little children and if I wasn’t home by six o’ clock she’s on the phone and we lived an hour out of town so, the phone would ring in the car and I am like, “Wow” you know? A young businessman, half a dozen staff and like it’s all – and to a certain extent we sort of made a mistake of moving out of town, which was good for the family and it made a lot of room in an easy community. But seeing I was concerned as the disconnect between over an hour between where I was doing business and even longer to the airport to fly to Australia or go in the country and so it took all my recreation time away. Yeah I guess to a certain extent also just sort of leaving Anna around sort of just get on with doing what she use to do and I don’t have to be involved in everything. And just accepting that maybe at some point her decisions is going to be different to mine and maybe they were the right decisions at the time and I got to accept that they were the decision that I sort of move on and not look back. Am I right? Most recent challenge is – this is actually – I have sort of thinking about this and but you know we sort of moved and pushed the reset button. ….we were sailing three weekend and was working on the North Sail loft and she’s been lucky enough to get a gig building sails or learning from that, for a holiday.
ANGUS: But Fergus said he was down at the pet shop he had a couple weeks work there and then Rachel if I am not careful, she will just sort of take herself into a daydream and lose herself in a friend. And Anna’s move lives in South Canterbury so there’s sort of force field that was… …from their place. So, I said to Rachel, “All right, we’re going to do a roadie and we’re going to go and we’re going to drive down… …and we’re going to go skiing for a couple of weeks.” Ah, so this was great you know? And so Anna said, “Well I bet you about a week.” So I fly down in a week’s time and so, we drove down and had a wonderful road trip, we were skiing and as we went down we did more skiing and then we’re driving home but obviously… …and we’re staying overnight and checked in. Nine o’ clock in the morning then neighbours on the phone saying, “Look, Angus I am sorry to ring you but the other night, where you were there was quite a big party going on at your house?”
ADAM: Good stuff. Yeah.
ANGUS: And at this stage it\s one o’ clock in the morning in Sydney… …So ring number one daughter up and say, “What’s happened, what’s going on?” She says, “Oh, nothing dad I am in bed.” And I am thinking, “Hmm” So I said, “Well, okay.” As the neighbours are telling me one thing, you are telling me another, I’m certain – do I ring her and naturally she’s been one or the other and it’s actually Anna’s brother and the kid’s uncle do I ring him up and say, “Look, would you mind getting around there at one o’ clock in the morning. He’s probably [murmuring] short and go and see what the hell is going on?” But I thought, “No, you know what, I might just leave it.” So then I rang them at seven in the morning and I rang Fergus. “So Ferg, what was going on last night?” and then he said, they had a great party and I go, “Oh yeah, okay, all right. So did any one stayed overnight?” Well yeah, these people crashed out all over the place.” And this is when I finally just you know – he knew that I knew and he was – it’s better to stand up and- anyway. So I rang back in 10 minutes and I get Celia and she goes, “Ah., yeah, we had a few people over.” So I asked her, “Did anyone stayed overnight?” She goes, “Oh, no, no, everyone went home.” So in the period of less than sort of 10 or eight hours we had the number one daughter who up until that point I thought that I had a fairly close relationship with her. You know we were fairly honest with each other telling me you know hooky party. So, anyway at this point, I ripped in her backside and told her I was really sort of very grumpy my blood pressure was up fairly high and you know saying I am happy with the world. At this point and we still had 800 kilometres to drive home in a three hour fairly rate so a little bit of time to calm down. So anyway, so we got home at half past two in the morning to find that even though they done a good job of cleaning up, the carpet still smelled like it been in the pod. And when I turned one of the side lamps on in the lounge it obviously, you know there were food all up the wall and soaking through the furniture. So I was fairly disappointed at this point and I don’t know how to describe it. And Anna who’s required an explanation was you know they just had a limited work.
ANGUS: But anyway, so we put some penalties on [murmuring] she was feeling indignant. And well as far as I was concerned I don’t really feel whether she was indignant or not. She bought herself a little car or half a car, we bought the other half but it was car or two and she was pushing it a bit making it to like two terms if she wanted to. And then there was no fall. Of course they’re all off to the high school bowl. And then my parents lived like two blocks away and they’re quite elderly and they’re still living in an old house with a fire. You know after school you come buy at home to go to grandad and you put the coal in the coal setter and the firewood in the basket. Well, you know there was a great thunder and storms around the house that teenage girls come every day. And eventually Anna said, “Well Celia, you know you can grow up a bit and start negotiating or you can continue being in the hills and I think your father’s are a lot better and you wouldn’t make it at this point and you’re not going to get anywhere with them. So anyway, you know we started to see that the washing got hung out and folded and started to see that the house is starting to look at the patio and there was starting to sort of get a little bit of calm in the house. Because some of you who are listening is probably realise that that’s just three teenagers is like living with three adults that had no comprehension of helping or doing anything useful around the house at all. And they’re just you know quite frankly end up with two parents looking after three teenagers and that’s the [murmuring]. So suddenly we have this titbit sitting there thinking, well hang on, maybe I am not going to be anywhere unless I actually changed my modus operandi. And eventually, she sort of said, “Look, I have said that you know doing what I did unacceptable.“ And I have explained to her and she was like, “If you had said to me they’re the one that had a party, maybe we would have sat down and talk about how you as a [murmuring] and if you want to protect that risk.” Because you know in the city well visible media and the parties can go from a gathering of 10 people to gathering of a 110 people and whole thing moves and you know all sorts of anxiety behaviours.
ANGUS: And then I said, “Look, you know if I would have given you maybe some encouragement to what to how to deal with it if you needed to, I sort of I figured it might get out of hand, I don’t believe anything that I am being told at the moment. But anyway if you had rung me at midnight and say, “Hey, dad I’m in trouble here, can you help me?” I would have rung your uncle, I would have rung – there’s a bunch of neighbours that we know and he would have sent the fathers around to play cop actually basically and help you. But, then – well you didn’t do that so I am upset. And when I rang you, this is what I can’t forgive you for, is you just lied to me. If you have said to me, “Yes dad, I’ve got a party and it’s gone out of control.” I would have then been able to help you again. And then in the morning instead of just coming clean you didn’t. So you know, it changed the lid has been removed for her and for me and that you know we’ve got a kid that [unclear -32:31]. And I just with the understanding that you’ve gone in and I haven’t – Well, I still remember when she was a little girl in the bath sort of thing and now she’s had boyfriends and cars and balls and having parties and drinking and something. I don’t know if I am ready for that, you know but that’s the way of the world really. So, that’s been the latest challenge and –
ADAM: And a good story. A great story for the dad’s. Look you know, I think if it’s any consolation I did the dame when I was – when mum went away once because I have lived with my for a while. My parents were divorced and I did the same but I was smart enough to take all of the furniture out of the house and store it so the house had no – you could do no damage to the furniture and then we cleaned up. And thought I had this place spotless and mum walked in and she said – and at first her first line was, “You’ve had a party.” And of course I denied it and she said, “No, you had a party.” And I said, “All right I had a party, but God heavens, you know because the place is better than you clean it.” And she was bloody very fastidious on her house and she said, “Because when I left there was 16 rolls of toilet paper and now there’s only two.” So, she knew just from the toilet rolls but only my mother would think that way so there’s a good tip for the dads of the world out there. If you think your kids had a party, go and check the toilet rolls because the girls use it like 90. That’s a great one. But I also think yeah, that’s a fantastic story for the dads and yeah, I think you handled it well. And I also think that that’s a really good message about the whole communication thing and about the fact that you can help your kids if you know what they’re up too. And 9 times out of 10 you got to let them do stuff and let them have that experience as long as you know, you know you can come for the rescue. It’s the aftermath of the thing that could happen because they easily could have gone pear shaped as you described with facebook and everything else these days. So, you know a very good story and a good tip for the dads of the world. Fantastic.
ANGUS: And I think the other thing the thing is like you said, as you noted that you know we all did it and you know if I think about some of the behaviours some of the things we did. You know there is a cabinet minister who I went to school here in New Zealand who shall remain nameless. Now, he would not like you know some of the things that we got up to as teenagers to come out in the public arena and to a certain extent we’ve all got to experience that, we all do it. And really from a parent’s perspective you just don’t want them getting damaged you know physically or psychologically as a result of just growing up a bit.
ADAM: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more, I couldn’t agree more. And a great way to move on to the next part. Now you’ve talk a bit about your wife and you said she was very livid about this and I bet she was because I know your wife very well and I know she was an ex- policed person. And I know she currently is a border patrol if I am not mistaken in the fisheries department in New Zealand is that correct?
ANGUS: Yes she is. She is – I don\t know, if you remember Adam, we met at university in [murmuring]
ADAM: Well that’s perfect because that’s the next question I was about to ask you. Tell me the story about how you met your wife and how you balanced the children at the moment.
ANGUS: Yeah, so we met – we met at university and you know she was the girl from particularly from the McKenzie Country and I was the guy from Auckland. I am a year ahead of her. I am 14 no, 16 months older so, you know we got along extremely well from the get go and you know we got married when Anna was 23 and I was 25 and then we’ve gone to Melbourne together. Yeah, we… …enjoyed each other’s company so, yeah. So we met at university and we just sort of hung together since then.
ADAM: Fantastic. And you’re coming up on 25 years, congratulations on that. It’s amazing how time flies mate you know that’s really amazing. And so, during those 25 years, how have you maintained your relationship? What is the key to maintaining a relationship for that period of time where you’re balancing kids , you try to manage a career, all of that. How have you dine it? How did you and Anna managed to keep yourselves together?
ANGUS: Well you know, if it sort of – I mean if I think about it, if you drew two parallel lines that never works like that. You know you sort of cut your grade together and you go apart and you go together. And you know it seems to be when Anna sort of got to 30 she was hell bent to have kids and get on with – and I can understand that from a female perspective. Now, as soon as he had those kids she was like, “Oh, bloody hell” you know and she wanted to get some space for herself and I completely understand that. So, we – she took a sort of considered her singing what she – you know, which gave her an outlet. However, it was very destructive on our relationship because you know we had a small business or a young business, we had young kids and basically what would happen is that I would get home from – or I would take home and then I would be at the door to go see her. Well you know, that’s what basically – [murmuring] So to a certain extent I was just sort of – I just decided to put my head down and accept that this is where we’re at the time and the alternatives where not something that I would entertain personally. So, anyway, so designing focus and getting away brought us back together in that. Anna, has always suffered a little bit from or quite a lot actually from sea sickness and she would then turn around and say – well she’d almost not blame me. But she’d be resentful that I was the happiest underway at sea and then balancing and then cooking part and then changing sails whereas she’d like in her bunk and not feeling well. And eventually we got – we got along way down the track and we were in an anchor in Fiji and I sat down and I said, “Listen, we got a lot of time doing this, you are reeling the sailing to me. You’re stressing the kids out and you’ve been you know I guess miserable for you.” So the way that I see it, we got three choices; sort your seasickness out, do something that will change because I can’t do it for you. Fly between – you fly to the next anchorage and I’ll sail the boat and that’s not a problem. I don’t have a problem with that and so just basically just wait there and I’ll get there and pick you up. Or we can turn this thing and go home. So, you make up your mind what you want to do because it’s just not working for me and it’s not working for you and it’s working for the kids. So from that point on she did not get seasick. So, I don’t think – we sailed – we did a 10th triple cross backstroke. And I don’t know what went on, but it’s kind of like we moved on from me being the father provider which is kind of what I have learned from my father to having a sort of full and frank discussion about get your shit together. Because it’s not – we got a limited time to do it and we need to make the most of it. So, and then we got back to New Zealand and I sure had a neglected fit which came out of the blue and I had to but I had to but nobody can tell me what no one is able to tell me what – why I do. But it really –
ADAM: So you hadn’t had them, you hadn’t had them prior to that.
ANGUS: No, not at all.
ANGUS: Personally I think it’s actually related to my going to head it for the idea. And I am a fairly sort of driven personality and I try to sort of do more and more and more having sort of set that from it. So basically, anything around and said, “Well, hang on you know what do we do here? So she’s taken a front – she front footed this and she after 12 years at home and just leaving me to do everything financially and everything from doing that sort of. Well she actually said, “Okay,” well she took on a job as a fishery officer. Now you know it’s no way near how that does the monthly signature of the family fun, however, it actually is contributing to that thing remarkably and however or whatever more importantly done is given her an avenue to sort of just sort of develop their own career and profession school I guess? You know I personally had staff and managed all that sort of thing and I sometimes look at how she was doing things and I think, you know what. I don’t think I’d do it this way. I think I’d do it in a different way. Now, going back to – now here you’re going back to work in an environment where she is passionate about. She really – the conservation and fisheries management side of things is something that is very – you know she is very passionate about and quite frankly, she’s very good at. And you know she has changed the way that she does things not only at work but at home you know? She comes from a compliant background where you know policeman, you comply when a policeman ask you to do something. Well when she comes home her husband certainly doesn’t comply. Her son certainly you know will not comply and the girls won’t comply either. So she had to learn to manage that part. So and in spite from my perspective I have tried to you know just sort of stick that a little bit and just sort of be helpful and supportive but not leaving my own wife in this. Because she has sort of realised that they are not keen [murmuring] and everybody needs a crack at different things.
ADAM: Absolutely, brilliant. And a great message for the dads of the worlds as well. And I think actually one of the best – one of the best I have had in all in the interviews, Angus. You know no disrespect to all the other dads but you know that just the key things I thought you touched on there were not only the communication aspect which is you know it’s sort of a common sense to keep the communication open and keep your understanding there. But, I think you know what you really touched on is allowing your partner to be themselves and do what they need to do whilst you know, making sure that the messages are retained and consistent going back and forth between the two of you. So, a brilliant – another brilliant story and another brilliant part of the interview.
ANGUS: I think that one of the key things that I sort of looked and just I don’t know [murmuring]
ADAM: That’s all right mate, I’ll cut that out.
ANGUS: Some of the things that I struggled with is that you know as a father you give up everything. You give up everything to work and produce as much money as you can and then something like – everybody sort of growing up and you don’t – you know you need to sort of understand a little bit of that yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. And I think that that’s sort of another challenge that we face that could get old you in your relationship develop and all that thing.
ADAM: Mate, I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, and a great point.
ADAM: So, let’s move on to the next one, where give the listeners your experience on balancing career and family, and you have had an interesting one Angus. You know you you have build a number of businesses and that takes a lot of time a lot of bandwidth and a lot of potential separation from the family. So how do you done all of these fantastic entrepreneurial successes and kept the family together.
ANGUS: Well, I want a caveat that by saying I don’t look at the firm as fantastic. Entrepreneurial success is sort of more see them as some lurching motherfucking disaster to the next but along the way you seem to you know make a dollar or two and learn a thing or two and sort of move and sort of keep looking forward not backwards. So, that balance and things you know I was very lucky in that, that I stayed at home for 12 years. So, that gave me the bandwidth in which you have describe it to focus on – focus on what I was doing rather than suddenly thinking well you know this could meet that, that could meet that, that one sits at home and you’re trying to sort of manage all of that. I sort of had this clarity and a sense of purpose that would allow me to be there. And I went back to work which is a little bit shock to my system because I have never had to – I never had gone to the teacher when there was a problem with one of the children or me to had to, you know? Stopping with something that was a bit of a mystery to me and in fact I wasn’t allowed to go shopping because I went to the supermarket and everything that I shouldn’t have brought you know came home and got my ears chewed and but yeah, they’re all the same to me. Suddenly, it was like well now it got to be all things to all people and I look at that. And I saw, “Well, working for somebody and as we were talking about before when… And you know the reality is that it is you know human commander addition and executive sellers eventually go to justify and we actually got to work really hard and produce some serious bottom line otherwise you’re just a waste of space.
ANGUS: So I kind of look for that and I thought, “Well. I actually did as you said three years from selling back my old company and what – am I going to go work for somebody and what am I going to do? I also didn’t want to stay and you know sort of getting fatter and fatter and less and less productive and just as starting to see all of those health effects of you know all these [murmuring] you know? And the guy that I knew sort of fill up their pictures and ended up with cardiac issues and I am thinking, “Wow, this is getting really scary. This is all very grown – up.” And so I looked around and I started looking at other businesses and started looking at business and to buy and to start and I look at that and I thought, “Well, I had all these what I needed to do, I needed to be available for children, I needed to be available for Anna. I needed to – I wanted to be outside. I needed it to make a lot of you know much money as I could. I didn’t want to have a huge capital…
ANGUS: You know selling businesses and spending five years journeying around and sailing but I get ended up with a lot of money leftover because nobody seems to stop spending because you’re not working and just spend the money and you know go backwards. But one of the things that has always fascinated me it’s sort of an ethical and philosophical perspective was bee keeping. So, and of course you know a lot of your listeners will b aware of the New Zealand the Mecca honey success store and of course, that’s medical as well as a food product. So, I thought I’ll go off and learn about bee keeping. Well, it was – I saw that it was quite a business and I did voluntary work for bee keeping and I just started to get lost and I thought, “Well, this is going very well.” So eventually, I got on to a beekeeper and I went to work for him voluntarily for one day a week. Now, so, basically I guess what I was the balance is looking for something that mix the whole picture, rather than simply saying, “I need to manage so and so and work from 60 hours to 100 hours a week and be away from home three nights a week and do that.” Because it’s just – it wasn’t where I wanted to be. So, you know I guess I just sort of felt took all of it and see the world at this stage, what I need to do.
ADAM: Brilliant, yeah. And that’s another good message. You’re giving me some great messages to the dads of the world and that’s one of the best ones yet I think is identifying exactly what you want and making sure it fits the overreaching big picture and that’s the way to balance career and children. Brilliant. So what about things that you’d change Angus. What’s the one thing in your life that you believe will help you be a better dad and what change would that be? If you can change one thing.
ANGUS: Uh, we’re all a bit contented. And it’s taking me a long time to stop looking over the things that makes the mind that you know that on surface of it there is ‘more successful”. It’s just that to get on to what you’re doing and be happy with what you’re doing. So, you know that would be one thing. And I guess the other thing is that we’ll probably worry about our financial well – being whether we’re going to be able to make the bills this month and next month. And you know quite frankly, whatever stage in your life that you’re at you have to pay the bills. If you’re not going to pay the bills, we’re worrying about them. So, you know don’t worry about it just get on with doing stuff that you know is constructive and positive. Because I suppose if you worry about things it actually, your behaviour reflects it well and it becomes a sort of almost this sort of a negative cautious and a boring person to a large extent.
ANGUS: Well yeah, I don’t know whether that helps or not.
ADAM: No, look great – another great message and I think you know I totally agree with you on the on your thought patterns and things reflecting in your persona. And I had a recent example of that where my best mate I have known him for 35 years and he – we’ve moved all around different parts of the world and things and that and now we live in the same city and have done for our last 10 years. But yeah, we’ve hung out regularly and so forth and he – he is a bit of an entrepreneur. He’s created a couple of businesses and things and several things weren’t going too well for him for a while so he was in a bit of a negative state, a bit of a depressed mindset. And yeah, he just become someone I just didn’t want to hang out with and so I avoided hanging out with him for probably good six months until you know? I thought about it and I thought to myself, “You can’t throw away 35 years of friendship on being in a bit of a negative state.” So, I took aside just one time and had a bit of a chat and I said, “Look, mate you know I haven’t been around because you’re just not cool to be around.” And yeah, he was really thankful for that feedback because he recognised exactly what you just said which is his persona was probably reflecting that and that’s part of the reason his business is going a bit south. And you know, since I gave him that feedback, you know he’s obviously changed his mind set, because his business has gone nuts at the moment. So, good stuff and yeah, it just shows you that if you’re not worrying about things and you just get on and do them amazing things can happen. So yeah.
ANGUS: Well it worries me that worrying is a bit of a [murmuring] because they are aware that you worry.
ANGUS: So you know they start to be anxious and it all – it doesn’t you know – sort of it snowball effect. So they had they’re on what unwittingly concern or or you know subliminally concern and you know?
ADAM: Absolutely, absolutely. So, there you go dads of the world there’s the message for today; you need to just keep the worry down and try to be the best you can be around your family and around your people and of the people you want to be with. Which brings us to the next round, which is the Power Dads Round? So, this is six short questions, short answers. I hope you are ready to fire up some dads, Angus. Let’s um – are you ready?
ANGUS: Yeah, fire away.
ADAM: Favourite dad toy and why?
ANGUS: Well, I always have a saying but and I sort of immediately thought that that wasn’t a good day toy but –
ANGUS: Because it was always something that A, I love and B, it gave me a bit of focus to the family back and things are changing for me there, they’re not so keen to go away anymore. So it’s interesting to see what the next dad toy is.
ADAM: Yeah, you’re moving into that breaker aren’t you? Where you are there this time to fly the nest. So yeah, interesting. And what about a book that you recommend to the dads?
ANGUS: A book?
ADAM: Yeah, it doesn’t necessarily have to be dad related..
ANGUS: Um – yeah, let’s run that a little bit.
ADAM: A bookworm, no problem. Maybe you can email me your favourite book after a bit later on and I’ll stick it in the sow notes. What about ensuring time for yourself? Now this is an important one and I imagine the boat is going to be involved somewhere here and possibly your bee keeping but tell us how you get time for yourself.
ANGUS: You know basically what I do is I actually went and consciously avoided doing things and working to just simply for the financial reward. I basically – look if I am doing something I really like I won’t have a struggle to – I won’t feel exhausted by it. So I do that work – I do that one day a week with yachting in New Zealand, which I absolutely love. And then I do the bee keeping which I am constantly challenged and stimulated by you know I am acting down. So, I guess to a large extent, I kind of feel as though all I got playing in these different areas and because I don’t see them as work. So what about the saying that if you love what you do you won’t even work a day in your life.
ANGUS: Maybe that’s what I am trying to achieve.
ADAM: Brilliant, yeah. And that’s true to the words, so, yeah, I am glad you are out there achieving it. That’s what I am striving for, still a long way away at my end but it sounds like you’re doing around living the dream or at least part thereof. So, number four, what’s an innovative trick that you use when disciplining the kids. Now you got at least 17 years to draw from here, so I am hoping for some good things.
ANGUS: Well, you know sometimes I think, sometimes you just need to put speck in the sand and say that you know, “I’ll probably bonk you if you carry on that way.” To really give them the picture. But I think the other side of it is is that you know we have got kids that have travelled [unclear -13:26] but rather than treat it differently to other costs. And so, the way to sort innovative trick or not trick, I actually – it’s more to suggest themselves as sort of living being come to the right conclusion basically. And you know just making them decide and guide them in that right direction. So, yeah, it’s not – with the younger children, you need to be more direct and just say yes or no whereas with older, young adults you know to try to be sort of be more sort of collaborative and guide them in the right direction I hope.
ADAM: Okay, I want to go a bit deeper here because I think you have hit on a good one. So can you give an example of how you’ve gone about that? I might be giving you questions without notice here. But yeah, I think the dads want to understand how do they go about that because that’s not quite as easy as you have described it.
ANGUS: Well it was a bit of a party theme in our house at the moment as I have discussed.
order Nolvadex ANGUS: A party that went on while we were away. And admittedly, I was extremely angry and ready to be [murmuring] at one point. Well, a couple of weeks after that Anna and I were out of the – we lived you a 10 – minute walk from Parnell Road which is a whole bunch of – there’s a whole bunch of restaurants and everything you get down there.
ADAM: Yeah, I know well –
ANGUS: And we went there and we were having dinner and I get a text from our 15 – year old boy and he says he wants to go to a party with his mate? And I said, “Okay, well who is…” – I sort of texted back, “Well whose party is it, where is it, and have you been invited?” and he comes back and says, “Oh, some girl that this guy who’s in somebody else’s class knows.” All right, I see. I said, “So, you want to go to a party at nine o’ clock at night. You need to be up at seven tomorrow morning to be at mountain biking club by quarter to eight. So, you haven’t been invited to the party, you don’t know who’s the people party is and you don’t know where it is? And you are asking me whether you can go o this party, what do you think the answer is?“ And I was just about to – and okay. So you know work/life well, tried to give him a perspective on what I was seeing from what he was asking me related to that… …and he wasn’t grumpy with me or anything and then we told him, yeah.
ADAM: And that’s a great example, you know? You’re living down there and showed them your perspective and I think that’s the key element there, showing them your perspective as a slightly matured brain compared to the level that they can be at sometimes. Yeah. Even the dog agree with that.
ANGUS: Yeah, mate. He keeps barking at the guy that’s coming around selling newspapers or something.
ADAM: buy Lithium online Fair enough. Classic. Good stuff. And what about the family tradition? Do you have a family tradition that you and Anna maintain?
ANGUS: Yeah, we do. It’s all about celebrating things like birthdays. And our birthdays go on for three days really. The first will be immediate family and we try to make fuzz with each other. And then it will be the extended family. So, I’ve got a younger sister and my parents and Anna’s parents and I guess his brother and we try to sort of then extended it out into you know that extended family. And then last but not least you know the friends so those family birthdays tend to go on for about three days. But it’s all – it’s in a just fun and we maintained that over the years really.
ADAM: Brilliant, brilliant. So I got to ask, does that stem more from your side or is that a Shepherd thing coming through?
ANGUS: Um, it’s a good question actually because we just had a couple of weeks family flown Anna’s mum and you know I sort of got – I got sort of talking to them and his mum about this so it’s kind of like, “Well, yeah, its kids. We had – my father was the head photographer at New Zealand… …and that was when the – when photographers were artists. You know he used to hand colour the negatives.
ANGUS: Yeah. So I mean, so he is very much an artist and my – I don’t know if you remember this using them…
ADAM: Yeah, I do, yeah.
ANGUS: She was the casting director for Shortland set.
ADAM: Oh, okay.
ANGUS: So it’s always been sort of an artistic environment in a theatre environment and a movie environment. So we also people that were coming in and out and we went on holidays – not holidays overseas but holidays. And it was all sort of – we did a lot of extra stuff and it was interesting talking to Anna because they lived on the job they didn’t go away on holiday and in fact, they only could talk about the number of times that she actually went on a holiday. So, I think possibly it’s – it’s not really necessary coming from my side but it’s – you know it just appreciate with what you have got rather than worrying about what you haven’t got I think, to a logic thinking and getting on with it.
ADAM: Yeah, yeah so absolutely, but I think you hit it on the head. I mean it’s very much a shepherd thing. So, I am going to let the dads of the world in on a secret here. Effectively, Angus and I are related. We’re related by marriage but Angus’ wife is actually my cousin. So, we pretty much grew up together Anna and I and I definitely lived with them for two years when I lived in the McKenzie Country. So, Anna is almost a sister to me. So for the dads of the world that got a bit lost there when I started talking Shepherd because Shepherd is actually our parents’ maiden names. So when I started talking Shepherd there I am referring back to our family and our grandparents so, yeah, letting you in on a secret there dads of the world. So about that we get a little bit cryptic from time to time but now you know what’s going on. So let’s move to the last question in the Power Dad’s Round which is one of my faves; Angus, what one personal habit do you believe you have that helps you be a better dad?
ANGUS: Yeah you know we sort of touched on it early on. I think that actually being optimistic and always trying to work out a way to make it happen rather than immediately saying, “No.” I have seen a lot of parents that sort of restrict their kids to they almost knock the confidence out of them. Yeah, I always say yes and this is a really slide reason not to sort of not to do it. And you know you can always work out how to make it happen. You know we have travelled the length and bridge of New Zealand racing small boats with and obviously, we touched on this sailing sort of thing, you know? Our kids are extremely capable and confident individuals. Now, you know I’d like to think that I’ve had a hand in there in that we, you know we encourage them to do things rather than discourage them. And I got a great mate who I grew up with that his kids, his younger kids are a lot younger in their behaviour then ours were at the same age. And, I think it’s really, because they sort of parents are difficult you know differently. Our kids I expected a certain same level of behaviour out of them and I have put them in situations that you know you can accept that you know that they’ll do things that are not appropriate but you know you just you know you got to accept that. However, and I will always just make encourage and expected the success of them, their failures and try to just be optimistic and positive reading toward them.
ADAM: Brilliant, brilliant and that’s a great habit. Perfect. Perfect one to finish the Power Dad’s Round. And thanks for all your candour today but now we move in to before we – sorry, before we start to close out, I’ve got the one last question, which is my number one favourite, and I have to ask everyone. Angus, what\s the one thing you would tell your children to help them be successful in life?
ANGUS: You know, just grab the opportunity, get in there ahead of plan, and make the most of it. Put yourself out there, will you and yeah, it’s – I don’t think there’s any that secret to. You know and just and do what you love rather than what other people think you have to do. And it’s not – you only get one shot at this so get on with it and do what you want to do and make the most of it.
ADAM: Brilliant. And a brilliant tip for the kids in life. So, before we close out, sorry, excuse me. Before we close out Angus, thanks so much for spending some time with me. It’s been a blast talking family matters and something we haven’t done in a long time. We got to keep the lines of communication open moving forward mate. But that’s probably more me than anything else. I am really bad at keeping in touch with family. But before we go, give the dads of the world one last tip and let them know how they can get a hold of you if you them to get a hold of you.
ANGUS: Yeah, mate that’s fine. Yeah, I was thinking about that tips for dads. I mean I am in sort of in that juggling point now where I kind of… …sort of hang out with dad anymore, so grab the time right now. Spend them if you can and spend the time and get spend up and much around with your kids. You know we – it doesn’t have to be a great event. Fergus and I on Sunday we he was just keep grouching and the thing that come in the ass and we just went off and went for bike ride around the town and you know that was great. You know they grow up really fast and you just really don’t know what’s around the corner so, juts get on with it and do it.
ADAM: Brilliant and a great last tip for the dads. So, dads of the world, we’ve been hanging out with Angus Willison today and he has given us some fantastic information. I hope you have enjoyed today’s show, if you have, head on over to firedupdads and tell us so. And you can get access to all the other resources that are at firedupdads.com. Keep on listening, really enjoying it. Don’t forget that the show is about fortnightly and that you can also start to head on over to firedupadventures to get some dads and children adventures online. Anyway, once again, thanks for your time today dads of the world and thanks again to you, Angus Willison.
ADAM: We’ll look forward to seeing you next time on Fired Up Dads.