Savage counsel: tackling work/life balance

Chris Savage tackles your career and agency dilemmas in his weekly Encore advice column.Chris Savage

Hi Chris,

You’re a busy man. How do you make this work/life balance thing work and what advice can you give to the rest of us?

Crikey – I’ll tell you when I find out. It’s a huge question but I reckon I have something to share here. I am getting better at it. First, I don’t differentiate between ‘work’ and ‘life’. It’s all my life and I want it all to be great. I love work. I love challenges. I love working in the creative industries and working with young people. I’ve always worked extremely hard and persistently. And I have also managed to live a big life in my small world, filled with family, fun, adventure, experience, relationships, learning, mistakes, love and passion.

To me, ‘balance’ is ensuring you are giving the right amount of time to all the big priorities in your life. I remember an investment banker telling me: “A banking career is like a cooktop – you have four hotplates; they are success, health, family, friends. If you want success, you can only turn on one other hotplate – you won’t have any time for the other two.” Now that sucks.

Success to me is not about money or title – it’s quite simply about the amount of joy you feel in your life. That’s not original. I heard it in a movie I watched on a plane last week.

So what are your big rock life priorities – where your joy comes from? For me… my wife, my children, extended family, my career, and continuing to learn and grow.

I need to be around for my loved ones, and to provide them with security, time, focus, care. A part of that is a happy me. I am someone who loves work and achieving, who is energized by learning. So my career is vital – it helps provide security, and also a happy me. And I need to be a healthy me – so ensuring you try really hard to keep fit, healthy and calm (I struggle here but am improving) is vital. And as much as possible, I need to be as present as possible in whatever I am doing. This is an absolute key to balance. When you are with your loved ones, or spending time on a passion, get 100 per cent present and focused on that activity. Live in the moment. Stay with it. Suck it in. Feel how great it is. Tell yourself: “Man – this is just great.” People who meditate know all about the power of this.

Balance to me is about knowing your priorities, making time for all of them, and ensuring you are lapping up every moment of whatever you are doing so you don’t waste opportunity. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Chris Savage is the chief operating officer of STW Group. His blog, Wrestling Possums with Chris Savage, can be found at chrisjohnsavage.com

Encore issue 5

This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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