You are your own greatest asset, so protect yourself

Work is critically important to your life, but it should be complementary and not be to the detriment of it, writes Wavemaker's Tim Grady.

One of my good friends told me to put myself first. So, after spending a week away on a coastal holiday, it would be remiss of me to not to reflect on the past year and what I’ve learnt. I spent a week away with nothing but my own thoughts (and a set of golf clubs) and it was the best thing I’ve ever done – I wish I had it done it earlier.

2018 was an extremely tumultuous year, one which could be defined as bittersweet. From a professional sense, I couldn’t be prouder of what I was able to achieve in conjunction with my colleagues. However, from a personal point-of-view, my time management, prioritisation and decision-making could have been infinitely better.

It’s amazing where clarity can come from and mine came from reading Chris Kyle’s biography. Kyle’s personal priorities were religion, country and then family and upon first reading this, I did view these as warped but then came the realisation that these had quickly become mine over the past twelve months. How could I view these to be wrong when I was following the same values? Kyle had become disconnected from his personal life, as had I. The penny dropped, something had to change and the key to having a successful year in 2019 is to achieve balance in my life.

Balance is an extremely difficult thing to achieve in your life and waiting on others to show you the way or hoping that things will fall into place is a dangerous game to play. This is something that I need to change and I’m the only one who knows what the right fit for me is. I would deflect, shirk, blame or excuse my behaviour last year, I was always able to reason with myself as to why work was more important than anything else. This ultimately resulted in becoming bitter and resenting a workplace, that had been nothing but supportive over the years.

As Australians, we work in some strange working environments. We claim to be time-poor but really we are victims of time-theft, we make fun of government hours and yet we work on average an additional six hours unpaid per week. We make fun of teachers and their abundance of (deserved) holidays and yet we have 134 million days of leave owing. If you leave on time, then you’re not working hard enough, shouldn’t we working be smarter rather than longer. It’s almost like we see working late or not taking holidays, as a badge of honour. Strange creatures, aren’t we?

40% of the Australian workforce struggle with balance, yet we continue to do same thing over and over again. What did Einstein say? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Collectively, Australians need to change, but that change must begin at a personal level for each of us.

I can think of numerous times that I put work ahead of personal last year, and whilst I can defend every decision I made, I wish I had known what I know now because my decisions would have been completely different. Well, at least I’ve learned from my mistakes – that’s a positive. I’ve spoken with many people in the industry and many either haven’t learned this lesson yet, or learned it too late, and I’m grateful to have discovered this whilst I’m still in the infancy of my career and have time to change my behaviours.

In 2019, I’m going to recalibrate my lifestyle and focus on what is important to me and whilst it’s all very well for a senior manager to sprout how they are going to achieve balance in their life, I’ll take the greatest satisfaction in being a role model to my colleagues and hopefully they’ll be able to follow my behavioural lead. Don’t get me wrong, work is critically important to your life but it should be complementary and not be to the detriment of it.

Yes, I’ll have goals that are work focused and ones that are personally focused but my only blended goal this year is to achieve balance in my lifestyle and I vow to follow this mantra: work to live, not live to work.

And for those who have read this far, I’m currently listening to Ron Pope’s album “Work” and yes, I realise the irony in the album title.

Tim Grady is digital director at Wavemaker.


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