New Zealand-born actor, presenter, life coach and workshop facilitator Andrew Eggelton, who has starred alongside Ryan Gosling and Michael J. Fox, talks to Elizabeth Harris at Dave O'Neil's office at Grandview Hotel (Fairfield) about:
- The downside of being famous, and what it's really like to work in the entertainment industry.
- His childhood and how it helped him develop his creativity and imagination as a writer.
- The life-changing episode that made him dig deep and uncover his purpose.
- A cabin in Romania, Dracula's castle, and a dog called Darren writing a fairytale about a man writing about a dog writing a fairytale.
- What his Generation Y clients tell him they want most of all, and what he thinks should be taught in schools.
- His upcoming "Art of Play" workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Find out more about Andrew Eggelton's work at AndrewEggelton.com.
Elizabeth: Welcome to Writers’ Tête-à-Tête with Elizabeth Harris, the show that connects authors, songwriters and poets with their global audience.
So I can continue to bring you high-calibre guests, I invite you to go to iTunes, click Subscribe, leave a review, and share this podcast with your friends.
Today I’m delighted to introduce the charismatic and insightful Andrew Eggelton.
Once upon a time Andrew Eggelton was a carefree child blessed with a vivid imagination, running around the fields of …
Elizabeth: Thank you. I was going to ask you how to pronounce that. So Otaio, a country town 30 minutes from Timaru – is that correct?
Elizabeth: South Canterbury, New Zealand. After the unfortunate discovery that he could no longer be a child, his imagination and desire to challenge the conventional would still play a large part in his adult life. Now in his forties, he’s spent over 20 years in the entertainment industry working with such people as Ryan Gosling and Michael J. Fox.
Andrew: Just to name a few. (Laughter)
Elizabeth: Yes, I’m looking forward to learning more about it, Andrew.
When a life-changing moment asked him to dig deep and get specific about what he was born to do. Andrew now nurtures artists to reach their fullest potential. He reminds people just how powerful remembering to play is, and to nurture the inner child before it is lost forever. Andrew uses his intuitive coaching gift to host one-to-one intensives for artists, speakers and television presenters. Andrew guides his clients from a mundane existence to an inspired powerful life. He inspires his clients to dream, discover their purpose, and then gift package this to the world.
Andrew Eggelton, welcome to Writers’ Tête-à-Tête with Elizabeth Harris.
Andrew: Nice to meet you and thank you for having me.
Elizabeth: It’s a pleasure to meet you Andrew – and to pick you up from the corner of Greville Street and Chapel Street in beautiful Melbourne.
Andrew: Yup, all in exchange just for one chai.
Elizabeth: It’s my favourite drink after all.
Andrew: Better than an Uber.
Elizabeth: Andrew, we recently discovered that we have a similar sense of humour.
How do you use that wonderful sense of humour in your coaching work?
Andrew: In my coaching, I use my humour to defuse the sense of a line between me and my clients, so it allows them to realize that I’m just the same as them, and that we’re all on the same level playing field.
Elizabeth: ‘Cause it’s an equalizer.
Andrew: It’s an equalizer; takes away the ego of everybody, brings everybody down to the same level.
Elizabeth: I really like that, ‘cause I use a lot of humour too, and some people don’t understand my sense of humour, and now I’ve found one person who does, so thank you for that.
You spent your childhood in a beautiful place and the school you attended was unique. Can you tell us the impact of being in such a small school, the benefits and the hindrances?
Andrew: Okay, the impact. Do you know when I first moved to the school, I was five, and there were eight pupils. Eight. And no one my age. There were two girls …
Elizabeth: Oh, were you the baby?
Andrew: I was … My dad was my teacher and principal, so that was quite challenging.
Andrew: There was special treatment for sure, but probably not in the positive way - probably in the way that Dad was probably a little bit harder on me than the other children.
Elizabeth: Did that make you cry?
Andrew: Ah…it brought up some things in my later years, but we’ve worked through those now. And anyway, just to put it clear, my dad and I have a beautiful relationship. But what it taught me is that: there was no one for miles. There was no one to play with; I had no peers, so my imagination and what I did with my spare time were of my own doing. Huge bush walks and literally gone all day, you know.
Elizabeth: The importance of nature was there for you.
Andrew: Yeah, so I’d go for bush walks and leave at nine in the morning, and it wasn’t till the sun was coming down that I’d be like “Okay, it’s time to go home.”
Elizabeth: On your own?
Andrew: On my own.
Elizabeth: That self-sufficiency…
Andrew: Very self-sufficient.
Elizabeth: Were they worried about you?
Andrew: Not at all, not at all. As long as I turned up for dinner, they didn’t care. What trouble could I get into?
Elizabeth: What freedom!
Andrew: Yes, a lot of freedom.
Elizabeth: And we have a tattoo, listeners. Where is your tattoo? One of your tattoos says “Freedom”, Andrew – where is that?
Elizabeth: How many tattoos do you actually have?
Elizabeth: And can we talk about where they are, or is that private?
Andrew: No (laughing) – I’ve got three on my left arm. “Joy”. “Kaizen”, which is Japanese for ‘little improvement every day’. I’ve got the Viking word “Inguz”, which is ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. I’ve got “Courage, dear heart”. I’ve got Latin – “Fortune favours the brave”. I’ve got “Truth”.
Elizabeth: So a little bit like Robbie Williams, although you deny that.
Andrew: I deny I’m anything like Robbie Williams.
Elizabeth: Why, what is Robbie Williams like for you?
Andrew: Ah, I like that he’s a playful character.
Elizabeth: He’s fun.
Andrew: Yes, yes he’s fun.
Elizabeth: He’s settled down, though.
Andrew: Yes he has – and I’m looking to do the same.
Elizabeth: Oh, wonderful. What are you looking for in a woman, Andrew?
Andrew: Ah, someone who’s the opposite of me. (Laughs)
Elizabeth: What does that mean?
Andrew: You know what it is? I know exactly what I want from a woman, and that’s why I wrote that article on love that I’ll get it for you later. I want a goddess, a divine feminine woman.
Elizabeth: All women are goddesses.
Andrew: They are, they are, but in this day and age, in this day and age, if I may be so bold …
Elizabeth: You can be as bold as you like; it’s your show.
Andrew: It’s that women try to be men – they embrace so much masculine energy that it really sort of emasculates the men. And for me, being a woman is such an amazing gift.
Elizabeth: How do you know? You’re not a woman. (Laughs)
Andrew: Only by observation. I mean, you’re the closest thing to Mother Earth that there is.
Elizabeth: Can you explain that for the people who are not quite on your level of understanding?
Andrew: Okay. Mother Earth means like that nurturing soul, the ability to have a child.
Elizabeth: Is it like when I shut your fingers in the window this morning and I said were you okay. I am a nurse and I am concerned about your fingers. Is it like that?
Andrew: Well it’s kind of like that, but more authentic.
Elizabeth: (Laughs) So Mother Earth…
Andrew: So Mother Earth. Here’s the thing. I’m a pretty well-balanced guy, I think. But when I’m with a very feminine woman, I feel safe. Like I feel safe. Like if I’m in her arms, I feel “Wow, I’m safe.” Now she couldn’t protect me to save herself.
Elizabeth: That’s true.
Andrew: But there’s that feeling of ‘safe’, like there’s something calming.
Elizabeth: That’s beautiful.
Andrew: And I sat with someone recently, and they said “But don’t you get it Andrew, you make me feel safe too.” I get it – the yin and the yang, the whole, so…
Elizabeth: That’s beautiful. That’s what you’re after.
Andrew: Anyway, that’s what I’m after.
Elizabeth: That’s beautiful. So that’s what you’re after. And ladies, we don’t mind if you’ve had a child.
Andrew: You can send in an application. (Laughs)
Elizabeth: So what we’re saying is, where do we find your work? We need a website to send these applications to. Where do we find you? Where do women find you, Andrew?
Andrew: Women can find me on such sites as … (Laughs) No. Andrew-Eggelton-dot-com.
Elizabeth: We’ll talk about your great work.
Andrew: Just to finish off that last piece, about the positives of living in that small community – it wasn’t a community. It’s that during the weekend or after school I had nothing to do, so my idea of entertainment was to go over to the school and write. Or draw. I used to draw. Now I can’t do anything more than stick figures. But my writing was something …
Elizabeth: Never say “can’t”. You can get back to that.
Andrew: Yes, I could, but I probably will never. Ah I love writing – that’s where the writing came from.
Elizabeth: And I totally agree, because I love writing too. In Year Six I wrote Tilly the Red Motorcar, and my father threw it away.
Andrew: Oh really.
Elizabeth: Not intentionally. He did a big clean-out and it’s gone – he threw it away.
So how do you utilize the foundation of your wonderfully carefree childhood and vivid imagination within your work, and in particular, how does this translate to The Playroom?
Andrew: The essence of what I coach, if you boil it, simmer it down to one thing, is the Art of Play. So when you write, when you present, just your everyday life, one of the things that I really coach into my clients is a sense of playfulness. I’ve always like – my aunty and my family, people who know me, call me Peter Pan.
Elizabeth: Oh, that’s lovely.
Andrew: Now, that’s getting a bit condescending as they get older, but …
Elizabeth: They’re saying “Peter Pan, you need your Wendy.”
Andrew: Yes, yes. So what that foundation taught me was the Art of Play – I get curious, I get excited.
And when I public speak or go on camera or present on TV, whatever I’m doing, I get into an excited space. This is playtime for me, and that’s what I coach into my clients. It’s exactly the same thing. Reframe this – it sounds very NLP – reframe it, and it gets to a point where they turn it up on camera, and they actually get excited and they say, “Okay, this is our playtime!”
If it was a child, you’d be playing with dolls or fire trucks or whatever kids play with these days.
Elizabeth: iPads. It’s very disappointing, and I was thinking about your child and how so many children would benefit from a childhood like yours.
Elizabeth: Just get outside in the dirt, run around.
Andrew: Yes. Fall out of trees. Good for you.
Elizabeth: Umm, I’m a nurse, I don’t know about that one. But if there’s a safety net under that, sure. (Laughs)
Andrew: Yes, but that’s what happened – it was a sense of playfulness. That was the foundation that was built in me from that growing up, that childhood, and that imagination.
In your bio, you mention a life-challenging moment. Will you allow my listeners to know more about this, or will I be breaking privacy laws?
Andrew: Yeah sure, so I’ll make a long story short. So two years ago – it was September the 6th or the 9th, I slipped a disc in my neck: C6, C7. The way that works is that if the disc slips, the nerve that runs down through those discs is trapped. Now that can cause a super intense pain. If you haven’t experienced it – and not many people would have, thank God – I can only liken it to passing a kidney stone or giving birth. Obviously one of those I haven’t experienced. So that was like a shotgun blast going off – the incredible pain – and I was in Bali and couldn’t fly. Every doctor told me something different – I mean, I couldn’t even dress myself, couldn’t feed myself, couldn’t get out of bed, and this lasted for 2 months. And if I had been in Australia or New Zealand or a better place with a bit of a medical…uh…Indonesia.
Elizabeth: You should have called me Andrew; I could have come over. You could have used nursing care.
Andrew: The first thing they said when I got sent back to New Zealand was how was the depression, and I said it was super intense. And he goes “Yeah”, because after that, the physical pain…the physical pain 24/7 and I was self-medicating myself with whatever I could get my hands on to kill the pain.
Elizabeth: Not a good time of your life.
Andrew: I went into … my mind got lazy and dark and I went into incredible depression. And the life-changing moment was – I woke up one morning and I was like, “How the hell am I going to get through today? I don’t want to deal with another 12 or 14 hours of getting up to deal with people. Can I just take a pill and forget about this day?”
Elizabeth: So you were suicidal.
Andrew: I understood how people could commit suicide, yes. I’m not that kind of person myself, ‘cause I know that there’s an end. So I got up and went, “Right, enough. You’re going through this. What do you want out of it?” And I wrote down on a piece of paper – I started off with “What is your ideal day?”
So I wrote down everything: what happens when I get up, who I’m with, what am I drinking, what does outside my window look like, how do I feel, what’s the look on my face – everything, right down to the minor details of the thread count on my sheets. Then after that, I had the realization, that the current Andrew wasn’t capable of having that perfect day, perfect life, because I wasn’t equipped for that. My behaviours, my beliefs, my character, the things I had to work on.
So I started to write down all the things I had to become, the kind of man I needed to be…
Elizabeth: Be, do, have, Andrew. Be, do, have.
Andrew: Be, do, have. I call it ‘the man I need to be’. So I wrote that down, then I wrote down how many hours a week I wanted to work, how much I wanted to get paid, what I was going to be doing, and how I was going to serve others, and from that moment onwards, I had this whole new focus on life, and that got me into my life coaching. And I use exactly that – I call it Life by Design, and obviously I flesh it out a lot more, and the actual process is called The Design Practice, born from that moment of desperation.
Elizabeth: Isn’t that amazing how you turned that around? Congratulations, because many people can’t do that.
Andrew: They don’t know – I don’t think they know how to do that.
Elizabeth: You know what you don’t know how to do? Accept a compliment, because I’ve just offered you a compliment.
Andrew: No, you’re right. I’m not very good at accepting compliments. You’re right, but thank you – thank you.
Elizabeth: My pleasure, because that’s really pivotal. Congratulations. You write for Spiritual Biz Magazine and I’ve read a number of your great articles, including a very special piece on love, and also one about the Art of Play.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Andrew: There’s probably never a point when I didn’t want to be a writer. Yeah, so, like I said earlier my dad encouraged me to write when I was a child. Because there were only 8 kids at the school, where one of the things where - I don’t know if we had subjects at all – we would spend an hour or two hours writing creative stories. And then I would come back and kids would have two paragraphs or half a page, and I would come back with 20 pages, and hold fort for as long as I could.
Elizabeth: So clearly a gift.
Andrew: It’s definitely a gift, yes. So thank you. See that? Did you see that?
Elizabeth: Oh, I’m impressed. (Laughs) You are a fast learner. Well done.
Andrew: I am a fast learner. Writing is a real joy and I think there’s a versatility to my writing – I can write silly and fun, and I can also go very deep.
Elizabeth: So when you’re writing, what keeps you going, and whatever works for you could work for other people, so what would you advise other people to keep them going with their writing?
Andrew: Write, because you want to, not because you have to – for a start. I mean writing, if you’re an artist or just a creative person, writing is something – we talked about this in the car when you came to pick me up – it’s something that for me and I think other artists, we have control over it. I can pick up my laptop or pen and paper any time I want. So the trouble with – the challenge with – being a creator or artist, is especially when we explain it with being a presenter or an actor, is the gatekeeper. The audition is a process; I get the job or I don’t get the job. There’s ten No’s to one Yes – and that’s good odds.
So if you’re a creative person, you just can’t wait to get to that playtime. For me, that playtime I am on set and I am playing. But when I’m writing, it’s like I feel like writing right now and I’m gonna write right now. So I get this creative outlet straightaway, and it’s that sense of playing; even when you’re going deep, it’s that sense of playing.
Elizabeth: That’s wonderful.
Who or what is your major source of support when you are writing? You’ve got some cranberry juice, I see. For me, I’m definitely a coffee addict. So for you, what supports you through that? Is it friends, or is it other writers. You know writers have this wonderful community; we share – we don’t compete, I’ve found, from the community I’m in. Very generous people, and we understand that it can be very isolating to write. So if you’re feeling that way, reach out, because there’s always someone up at 2 a.m., writing something.
Andrew: Mmm, it’s true. It’s true. Do you know what, the people who support me are: one is my father, and I have a couple of friends: Jarrah, Campbell – he lives in Bali too – and they’re just like, I’ll talk to them about an article I’m writing, and they’ll “Yes, yes, go for it.” And you know the one I wrote on love when I was in Romania was one I didn’t want to print, because I actually wrote it myself and I thought – I could be judged quite heavily on this, writing about something that – (Elizabeth: It’s a beautiful piece) who am I to write on this subject, you know what I mean?
Elizabeth: I’m shaking my head, everybody. (Laughs)
Andrew: But I did it and it had a wonderful response and got shared hundreds of times. So, yeah, I’ve got some wonderful friends, and my other support is probably a glass of wine when I write.
Elizabeth: Red or white?
Andrew: Red. Always red.
Elizabeth: And there’s antioxidants in it, so I approve of that.
Andrew: Okay, so I’ve always wanted to write – for a long time I’ve wanted to write – a fairy tale, in a cabin, in Romania, overlooking the castle that inspired the legend of Dracula. Actually, the castle that inspired the novel Dracula. It’s a little town called Bran in Transylvania in Romania.
Elizabeth: Do you have a costume that you wear when you’re writing?
Andrew: No, there was no costume.
Elizabeth: No fangs?
Andrew: No, no, no. It was actually very exciting. I wrote about an imaginary character called Darren who’s a dog. And Darren left the corporate world…
Elizabeth: Right. Well, I wrote about a cat called Victoria, so here we are.
Andrew: Yes. Everybody had told Darren that dogs can’t write fairy tales. And so Darren went “Fxxk it!” And then he got on a plane and flew to Romania and travelled around Europe, ended up in Romania, and he’s been writing a fairy tale about a man…
Elizabeth: You need to put some money in Samuel Johnson’s Swear Jar.
Andrew: That’s one; that’s only one so far. So Darren said if you went ahead and jump on a plane anyway and fulfilled his dream of writing his fairy tale about Europe and ended up in Transylvania. And he’s writing a fairy tale about a man writing about a dog writing a fairy tale. So it’s multi-layered, very confusing.
Elizabeth: No, no, hang on a minute. A man …?
Andrew: Being me.
Elizabeth: Yeah, but let’s just go back a bit, so a bit slower. A man …?
Andrew: A man, writing about a dog who’s going on a journey to write a fairy tale.
Elizabeth: Everybody’s got that now, so go ahead.
Andrew: Yes. And he has not finished it – he is definitely chipping his way through it, which is nice, and it was a beautiful journey in Romania to be able to do that. But Darren got very sidetracked with many things in Europe, and that held him up a little bit.
Elizabeth: (Laughs) Was Darren auditioning for the mother of his pups, perhaps?
Andrew: I think Darren might have a few pups, though. (Laughs)
Elizabeth: In 20 years you might have a couple of knocks on your door, Andrew.
Andrew: Thai’s it.
Elizabeth: What are you working on at the moment?
Andrew: So the number one priority at the moment is I’ve got workshops coming up in New Zealand and Australia in February, March, and my number one priority is putting together how that will look. So my workshop’s called The Art of Play, and it’s for live speakers, presenters, corporates, entrepreneurs. So that’s a priority.
Elizabeth: Can we learn about that? What is the workshop about?
Andrew: I bring – if I can say so myself, which is very un-humble for a Kiwi…
Elizabeth: Just be loud and proud.
Andrew: Okay. I bring a very unique, world-class way of coaching and presenting, so a performance, and I literally have a gift, an intuitive ability to tailor my coaching to an individual. So even if I’ve got 20 different people in class, I’ll have 20 different ways of coaching.
Elizabeth: That’s because you read people very well.
Andrew: I read people very well. And part of that is because presenting never came easy to me. It’s something I worked very hard at, and had to work through many, many of my blocks.
Elizabeth: See, that really surprised me.
Elizabeth: Yes. ‘Cause you present so well.
Andrew: That’s good to know. Thank you, thank you.
So Melbourne … Brisbane will be the first weekend of March, then Sydney the weekend after, then Melbourne the weekend after that.
Elizabeth: So you’re wanting your – so you’re the focus, and we have this theatre setup, and you bring the participants down for their turn. Is that how it works?
Andrew: Yes, yes, yes. You know my favourite space – I get into a zone which is super playful, and I love it. Like when I coach, that’s my happy place. And feeding off the energy of other people, and feeding off me, and then taking away people’s expectations of themselves; that’s the first thing I do. I have this funny thing when we first start. ‘Cause I really don’t care what level people are at – it makes no difference to me. I’m going to coach you; I’m going to give you a 1 or 10. So I kind of defuse that by saying, “Look, we’re here now, and you’ve all given me your money. So I don’t care if you’re good or not.”
Elizabeth: (Laughs) I love it.
Andrew: You know what I mean? I have your money. I’m happy.
Elizabeth: Ka-ching! Ka-ching!
Andrew: My job is to take your money first.
Elizabeth: Then it’s up to you. Over to you! Take One – is it Take One?
Andrew: Yep, yep, so … but what I get is, I don’t care when people get up. I’m like, if you need to read off your script, if you want me to prompt you, I don’t care if you can’t even say your name. Like some people can’t – some people can’t even get up and say their name, they’re so nervous. And I’m like, I don’t care – that’s where you start. That’s it. So on a scale of 1 to 10 I’m going to give you a point five or a one. And now my job’s to get you to a 5, to a 10.
Elizabeth: So what I’m now interested to know is, what is a 10?
Andrew: A 10 is someone who’s very confident and keeps me – a 10 really keeps me on my toes. When you’re a 10, meaning you’re a very, very good presenter, my job is now to dig in and bring more of that personality out.
Elizabeth: Who is a 10? So that people can know. Not a personally popular 10, but a mainstream 10. There’s ‘Oprah 10’ … who’s a 10?
Andrew: You know some of those presenters from Top Gear? You know they bring that X-Factor – you see their personalities. Because there’s the old American style of presenting, where it’s cameras on, and all of a sudden there’s this fake personality.
Elizabeth: And you can see that.
Andrew: You can see that. It’s like “bang, bang, bang”. And that’s not presenting. That’s cookie cutter. And that’s almost like Step One of what you do. What we want is bring the personality. Because when it comes down to it, if you’re auditioning or you’re doing a presentation, what people are engaged by is your personality, your X-Factor.
Elizabeth: Oh. Really interesting. Okay.
Andrew: The reason for Darren and the Corporate Dog – I have this wonderful vision that I’m very excited about is doing a one-man stage show, and it’s just a storytelling. I stand at an altar with a big old dusty book which I will create myself, and I tell my fairytale, which is 45 minutes long. The purpose of it is to bring adults down to a sense of being children again. So it’s to let go of being adults – no bills, no mortgages, no responsibility. And for 45 minutes, just entertain using obviously audio and animation behind to drive the story, just old-fashioned storytelling. And that excites me – that’s my passion project.
Elizabeth: That would be captivating.
Andrew: Yeah. And again, you could have beautiful cute little venues. First 5,10,15 minutes would be spent talking about getting people to use their imagination again. ‘Remember what you were like when you were 5 years old’, and setting that scene, and getting adults to remember what it was like to play again and be silly and have no responsibilities. And then go, “Right. Now my audience is ready. Let’s go.”
Elizabeth: You know, you know lots of famous people. So tell me about that. Is being famous an impediment, ‘cause you know, so many people want to be famous, but when you get down to it, do you want to be famous?
Andrew: Okay, so there’s a difference. There’s people, and this is – I was speaking to my actress friend here – I won’t mention her name – on Saturday. And she said, the biggest difference is now compared to when she first started acting, was people want to be celebrity before they become actor, so an artist.
Elizabeth: So, could we have an example of that? Kardashians?
Andrew: Kardashians is a good one. Reality TV is a shocker for that. I’ve had two periods of my life where I was – I use this word very loosely, but I guess people knew who I was.
Elizabeth: Oh I’m so sorry I didn’t realize. (Laughs)
Andrew: (Laughs) That’s alright. We’re in different countries.
Elizabeth: And who were you, Andrew?
Andrew: Well, that’s it. It wasn’t – I wasn’t …
Elizabeth: Are you important, and I didn’t know?
Andrew: Yes. (Laughs)
Elizabeth: We need to define ‘important’, don’t we? You see, I think important people are people like paramedics and surgeons who save people’s lives, you know?
Elizabeth: But then I’m different.
Andrew: But if you’re an artist – I rate writer and artist as the same thing because you’re reflecting life.
Elizabeth: I’m being light.
Andrew: Yes, yes, yes. But ‘celebrity’ – what’s a celebrity? You need to be someone who’s celebrated. Pure reality TV show person or something, it’s like “That’s your job. You got lucky, you’re in a TV show, you’re pretty much a nobody, you’re not really good at anything, but the camera’s following you. And that’s why people know you.”
Elizabeth: It’s false elevation.
Andrew: I remember it was in 2001, and I was kind of hitting my stride. I was working with Ryan Gosling on Hercules. I won Cleo ‘Bachelor of the Year’ in New Zealand. I shot documentaries and a TV series called Shortland Street which is like our Neighbours. Do you know what, and I started to get all this work, but just doing stupid stuff that I wasn’t actually needed to be skilled at. I’m turning into the kind of person that I ridicule myself that you see on TV or magazines.
Elizabeth: Is it like that song Popular by Darren Hayes? Do you know that song?
Andrew: No. Do you want to know what I did?
Andrew: I moved to an island called Waiiti Island off the coast of Auckland. It’s about an hour on a ferry. I got a little house, I grew a beard, I got an amazing vegetable garden.
Elizabeth: Does this mean you grew your own vegetables?
Andrew: I grew my own vegetables. I lived there for two years, and I did nothing but write and try to identify what I wanted to do as an artist. And there was one day I was standing outside and I was speaking to a man who was my neighbor, over some shrubs, and I realized I was talking to this stranger – naked. I was naked. It was hot, you know, and I just stopped wearing clothes.
Elizabeth: Totally? Totally naked?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was on an island.
Elizabeth: Did he notice? You had a fig leaf …?
Andrew: No. (Elizabeth: No fig leaf?) That was the thing. I was so used to letting it all go. And it just dawned on me: “Andrew, you’re only 28. There’s time to get off the island. There’s time to go, buddy.” I got off the island pretty quick. I moved into this new house with these two girls, and for about a month they were like …
Elizabeth: Had you not dressed for this too? It was colder there.
Andrew: I was dressed, but I was always going outside to pee on the lawn. And they were like, “Andrew, can you use the toilet?” So I told myself I’ve got to get out of this habit; it’s okay. I’m just adjusting to normal life again.
Elizabeth: And what’s normal?
Andrew: Yeah, what’s normal?
Elizabeth: What really grabs me about that story is that you were aware enough to know that you needed to change.
Elizabeth: And not everybody is that aware. And why are you that aware? Is it because of your dad? Is it because of your upbringing? You can sense bullshit basically.
Andrew: I can.
Elizabeth: You have got this really sensitive BS detector.
Andrew: You know I’ve only just … I was talking to my little brother about this a few weeks ago, I’ve only just realized what a quality and an asset is, and that I am highly sensitive. Even a year ago, I didn’t realize it was such an asset …
Elizabeth: It is.
Andrew: As to what I do now, and I’m really starting to embrace it.
Elizabeth: That’s fantastic. The civilized word for that, everybody, is ‘discernment’.
Elizabeth: Yes, discernment. And also civilized people using the toilet rather than the lawn, Andrew.
Andrew: Yes. Well, I’ve got that under control now.
Elizabeth: Oh, that’s nice to know. (Laughs)
Andrew: Look, the entertainment industry, if you’re talking about that specifically, it’s just so much bullshit involved. And we talked about my earlier experience, but I had another experience in 2008, 9, 10, when I was really on a roll acting, presenting and public speaking. And again I went away, this time to Bali.
Elizabeth: Which is where you live now, isn’t it.
Andrew: I live half-and-half.
Elizabeth: Half and half New Zealand.
Andrew: Was New Zealand and Bali, and now it’s going to be Australia. Yes, I’m after a bigger market, which is here.
Elizabeth: ‘Cause this is important for the woman who’s coming on the scene. So we’re looking at Victoria, or we’re looking at Sydney?
Elizabeth: Melbourne. Oh, okay.
Andrew: The thing I like about the entertainment industry …
Elizabeth: We do have good weather, you know.
Andrew: In Melbourne? You’re the first person that’s said that.
Elizabeth: I’m Melbourne through and through.
Andrew: That’s beautiful. Makes me feel like home. Melbourne I feel like I’m home – I don’t know why. My dad grew up here.
Elizabeth: Did he really? Whereabouts?
Andrew: He actually told me yesterday and I can’t remember. About an hour out.
Elizabeth: Out where – north, south, east, west?
Andrew: Out towards the … Dande … Dande …
Andrew: The Dandenongs. Mountains.
Elizabeth: Oh, I lived there once. Stunning place.
Andrew: Mm, yes.
Elizabeth: Okay. So – the entertainment industry is full of people with lack of discernment. They believe their own B.S. Is that it?
Andrew: Umm, yeah, yeah. At the end of the day you’ve got to just go: “This is TV – this is just a job. I’m an artist, and if I get work I’m lucky.”
Elizabeth: Why do they believe it? Is it that adulation that they get?
Andrew: It is the adulation and look, I can relate to that. The ego is an amazing driver. And in my twenties and thirties it was my ego getting me out of bed. It was like, “Right. You wanted that. You wanted people to know who I am.” It was the adulation.
Elizabeth: Why do you want people to know who you are? I’m sorry I didn’t know who you were, Andrew. (Laughs)
Andrew: Because it’s a feeling – it’s self-esteem, isn’t it. A sense of self-love. It’s like if people adore you, it helps boost that sense of self-worth.
Elizabeth: I find that false.
Andrew: Of course it’s false.
Elizabeth: Having been a school nurse and really looking at children – you mentioned you were five – and nurturing their self-esteem, and how important it is. That doesn’t come from outside. That comes from inside.
Andrew: Always inside out.
Elizabeth: But we’re not taught that.
Andrew: No, we’re not. So what we’re taught - in a way that makes no sense to me – we’re taught that your career, what other people think of you, what you own, where you live – that defines who you are. But if you look at it from a deeper perspective, your outside world actually affects your inside, and you’re in control of that, and no one teaches you that at school.
Elizabeth: That’s why everybody needs coaches.
Andrew: Your sense of self-love, self-awareness, your sense of freedom, all your values start from inside out. When you’ve got that glowing and growing inside you, your outside world reflects that.
Elizabeth: You’ve got so many important messages to bring to the world, Andrew. It’s a very exciting time for you.
Andrew: It is, it is.
Elizabeth: That’s fantastic. That’s great.
Andrew: Thank you.
Elizabeth: What is one of the most inspirational achievements one of your clients have made after working with you?
Andrew: Before I even became a coach, I used to be able to get a lot of people to quit their jobs. Like I’m just very passionate, and when someone would talk to me about their job, I’d go – ‘cause it’s very usual in the Western world for people to go “Hey, what do you do?” And I never ask that ‘cause I really don’t care. It means nothing to me.
Elizabeth: Yeah, I know. What question do you ask?
Andrew: If I was going to ask, it would be “If you could do anything, what would you do?”
Elizabeth: Okay. And would you be impressed if they say “I’m actually doing it”?
Andrew: Yes, yeah. Like I’ve got a lot of people to quit their jobs and start following their passion. For me, I’m dealing with clients, it’s managing them through their zone of fear, resistance and self-sabotage which we all go through, and understanding that process of … When I did this whole coaching thing, I was like “I don’t want to deal with people’s problems.” Because I don’t want to sit and Skype and go to workshops and deal with people’s problems all day. So unless the first person, that’s the first thing they want to talk about - “This is what I don’t want”, I’m not interested. “What do you want?”
Andrew: When I know what you want, we can create that – we can work towards that and shape you. And that’s exciting. And of course when you go there, you’ve got to create that vision of where you want to go that’s so bold, exciting and fun, that your mind is tricked to go, “Oh, do you know what? This looks like fun. Let’s go there. That’s nothing – this is safe.” Because your mind isn’t built for success. It doesn’t know what the hell success is. Success to your mind is being alive for your mind, right? The fact that we’re sitting here talking, your brain is giving yourself a high-five, saying “Yep! You’re still alive!”
Elizabeth: (Laughs) That’s because I’m a human.
Elizabeth: Cleo – what did you say? – Cleo Bachelor of the Year? What year was that?
Andrew: 2001. (Laughs) Fifteen years ago.
Elizabeth: Wow. There’ll be a lot of jealousy on the other side of this podcast, I can tell you that.
Andrew, one of my favourite books is Illusions by Richard Bach. What is one of your favourites?
Andrew: Just off the top of my head, there’s many, many books – one is Badjelly the Witch (by Spike Milligan), for the reason that it makes me laugh. It’s just a child who is silly. It means nothing. There’s not even a message behind the story. It’s just someone’s random creative strain of thought. I just think it’s hilarious.
Elizabeth: I love to laugh. Very important thing to do.
Andrew: It’s the audio – and you know what it reminds me of? Why I love it so much is it reminds me of when I was a little kid – when I was five, six, seven - and my dad would come into my room in Otaio, and tuning in the radio. Because at that time we only had like one or two channels, Channel One and Channel Two in New Zealand. (Elizabeth: Oh, you’re spoiled!) And TV didn’t start till like eight in the morning or seven in the morning, so there was nothing else to watch except Freddo Rock and The Muppets. And then dear dad would come in and tune in the radio, and it was Saturday or Sunday morning storytelling time, and I would lie in bed and listen to that. That’s one of my favourite memories of my childhood.
Elizabeth: That’s a lovely memory to have.
What is Darren the Corporate Dog doing for Christmas? And I notice you haven’t invited him to your family celebration. Isn’t that a bit mean?
Elizabeth: Do you think Darren has a plan to combat your exclusion tactics?
Andrew: Look, at the end of the day, Darren and I do have a very wonderful relationship and he’s everything that – he’s kind of like no responsibility – he’s Andrew with no responsibility.
Elizabeth: Well, he’ll love Christmas then, and all the gift wrapping.
Andrew: Yes, and he’ll be there. He’ll be there at Christmas for sure. Do you know what’s wonderful about Darren is that, he just doesn’t think that people will speak ill of him, or they would say no. So he’s got that blind sense of faith.
Elizabeth: Innocence, isn’t it? That’s innocence. Childlike innocence.
Andrew: When I did tell him that – he said can I come for Christmas and I said “not an effing chance” – he wouldn’t have taken it as no. He would have thought “Haha, he’s joking. See you there.” So he will be there at Christmas time.
Elizabeth: Oh, okay, I’m pleased to hear that. Victoria will be with us too. Victoria the Cat, who’s in my book Chantelle’s Wish.
Andrew: Actually I’m sure Darren will get along.
Elizabeth: With Victoria the Cat?
Elizabeth: Oh, Victoria the Cat’s a good one.
Andrew: But I’ve got a bit of a treat for Darren. I don’t know if you saw, but when I was in Spain I got a bit drunk and slept on the couch, and he drew all over my face. I don’t know if you remember that.
Elizabeth: No, I didn’t see that. You never sent me …
Andrew: He wrote ‘I Love Darren’ on my face and forehead, and gave me a dog’s tongue and whiskers.
Elizabeth: You’ll have to send me the picture.
Andrew: And I’m going to shave his fur off.
Elizabeth: Oh! Is he going to be awake or drunk?
Andrew: I’m going to wait till he’s drunk. He’s always drunk. It’s his favourite pastime.
Elizabeth: So send me the picture. I missed it.
Andrew: I’ll do that.
Elizabeth: Thank you.
So Andrew, this is a signature question I ask all my guests: What do you wish for, for the world, and most importantly for yourself?
Andrew: For the world, I just wish that all of us would use our God-given talents, our unique gifts, to be of service to the world, and I feel like if we were all doing that, the world would organically go in the right positive direction. And that would also mean a lack of corporate greed, the raping and pillaging of the earth … I know that we are not here to work in the system that we’re currently working in. The human wasn’t designed for that. And we have far greater possibility than what we’re showing at the moment. What I’d love for the world is for the next generation and the next generation to start to push the boundaries, and to do what we were actually designed to do, which is evolve. And not evolve in a way that’s three percent growth in a year in the corporate world.
Elizabeth: That would be so not the GDP. We’re talking about – there are a lot of children around, and when you have your child, you will learn this: they are highly evolved.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. I can feel it. A lot of my clients for my market in my life coaching side of things, are Y Generation, and when I did my research, nearly every single one – I said “What do you want? What’s the ultimate thing you want to do?” – they said, “I want to make a positive impact on the world.”
Andrew: And you don’t get that – if I can f**king be as bold – with baby boomers.
And even from my generation …
Elizabeth: It’s your show. You can say whatever you want, even swear.
Andrew: From my generation, a little bit more. But from the next generation, even more. And I think, must be very hard for them to – I can understand where the system came from. And how my parents were so – I’m not for – but this was what you do. After World War One and Two you know, this is how everyone’s going to work. But they’re wising up.
Elizabeth: People are waking up.
Andrew: They’re waking up – that’s a better word. We’re waking up; we’re evolving. We’re spiritual beings.
What if at school, you were taught that via the mind, we can actually have and do whatever we want, you know. And I’ll just go in another direction, but you know, teenage suicide is off the charts – and why is that? They’re actually becoming highly sensitive beings, but they haven’t been taught what that means or how the mind works.
Elizabeth: See, I see you as an incredible mentor for young men – a powerful mentor for young men.
Andrew: It’s funny you say that, because a lot of people keep telling me to work with young men. But I love working with young women as well. (Laughs) I love working with women in general, because I have a nice relationship with women. But I like to work with young women and young men.
Elizabeth: Well I think …
Andrew: But I know exactly what you’re saying. That makes sense. In fact, the first time ever you saying that to me then just made more sense.
Elizabeth: Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment.
Andrew: There you go. That’s 4 to 1 so far.
Elizabeth: Andrew Eggelton, thank you so much for joining me on Writers’ Tête-à-Tête with Elizabeth Harris. Thanks for tuning in everyone, and may your wishes come true.
Andrew: Thank you for having me.
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