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I was one of the lucky 2000+ people to attend TEDx in Auckland last Saturday.

In only 18 minutes each the 17 speakers rattled our perceptions, amazed, entertained, moved and inspired us. They all gave great value and spoke very well.

However, for me the standout was Dr Paul Wood, perhaps because he's a business associate I respect and whose services I've used for clients. His story (which I'd not heard before) blew me away.

At 18, a drug-using high school dropout, he was marched into a maximum security prison for murder. 10 years later he emerged with a university degree in psychology. You can listen here to an interview with RadioLIVE Drive host Andrew Paterson.


Wood is the first prisoner in NZ judicial history to go from a high-school dropout to a PhD, with the bulk of the study done in prison, some in solitary confinement.

His premise: Everybody has a prison. What's yours?

After stunning us with his personal story, told very matter-of-factly, he went on to share 5 keys to break free from our own prison/restrictions/faulty beliefs. In other words, if we're not living the life we want, it's our beliefs that hold us back from turning our dreams into results.

And yet, no matter how much we want to make change, he also pointed out that only a handful of people can break through their personal barriers without support. For Paul during his incarceration, huge support came from Massey University staff. They modified a number of requirements to enable him to complete his study - for example, compulsory attendance at some lectures. Another institution had a prior claim!

As he moved through the academic levels, when it was necessary to do face-to-face work, lecturers drove hours out of their way to visit him.

So what is it for you? What holds you back from your desires and goals? And what support would make a difference?

For example, many of us struggle to fit in exercise, improve our fitness and drop weight. At every speech and training session I run, on average over 50pc of my audience want to improve in this area - but struggle.

Often they say it's because they lack time. For me personally, even though I'm very self-disciplined in many areas, in the health and fitness arena it's the commitment to someone else that keeps me on track. It might be just exercising with a group of friends once a week.

Or maybe committing to a short gym programme. (I've just completed a 6-week vibration training intensive with Configure Express to get back on track, with great results.)

Now I've got the good eating and exercise habits re-established it will be much easier to manage on my own. And yet I've also set up other support mechanisms, (including a distance fitness support group) . As to the time factor, it has to be scheduled in as an appointment every week. If I wait until I've got 'spare' time, it won't ever happen!

For you, perhaps it's a business skill you want to improve. (If it's productivity you need help with, check out our membership programme and also the huge range of free ongoing support .

Would you like to join Robyn for breakfast? Win one of 5 free double places at one of her GettingAGrip Breakfast Club seminars (valued at $95) in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Palmerston North - 7am - 9am. Other regions in coming months. Email jill@gettingagrip.com with 'Breakfast Club - NZ Herald' in the subject line. Please advise preferred location. More information here.