Archives For Slowing Down

Foreword

One thing I have learned is that for the most part, people express the same idea but they express it in many different ways and with many different words. It is the details in the expression, the words, and combination of words used, that give a story its colour, its texture, and brings it–and its lessons–to life.

We are unique combinations of our beliefs, values and life experiences. Differences notwithstanding, we, and our experiences, are important. Therefore, there is value in compiling and sharing these stories and the multitude of ways in which ideas are expressed. Combined, these stories weave a wonderful tapestry that exemplifies just how rich and beautiful life can be.

And who knows? An inadvertent remark or detail in the retelling of a story can stand to attention and have an impact in the world of a reader. And with that exciting possibility, perhaps the most valuable thing I can do is create the space where the stories of those whom I admire and respect can be shared.

Below are people that I have come across on my own life journey whom I deeply admire and respect. Whether it be their tenacity or courage, or relentless drive or passion, each individual generously reveals a different lens in response to the questions I regularly pepper them with.

As we continue on our sharing over this anthology, I will share tidbits and anecdotes as to why I hold them in such high esteem, and what I love most about them. In turn, I hope that you do too.

Have you experienced burnout? If yes, what have you learned?

There were days where putting one foot in front of the other to come to the office in the morning was almost too much to bear, and when I did get to the office I spent far too long staring at the computer screen not doing much.

Andrea Grisdale, Founder and CEO at IC Bellagio, Board Member at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Bellagio, Lake Como.

Absolutely yes. I experienced burnout 8 years ago and I remember it well. The biggest “thank goodness” at that time was that I had a coach at the time who helped me navigate what I was experiencing.

I was exhausted, fed up, lacked energy, and was overall in a negative state of mind and being. There were days where putting one foot in front of the other to come to the office in the morning was almost too much to bear, and when I did get to the office I spent far too long staring at the computer screen not doing much.

In spite of this, I felt I could not walk out on my team when we were on an “all systems go” mode in the middle of travel high season despite knowing in my heart of hearts that I needed a break.

Thankfully my coach at the time invited me to look at the situation differently and helped me craft my communication piece to my team, clients, and partners to advise them that after many years building the business, I was now at the point where I could step away from the office for a month to take a much-needed break.

To this day I can still remember how anxious I was hitting the send button.

The reaction I got was amazing. There were so many beautiful emails wishing me a well-earned rest, asking me to promise not to worry, and assuring me that they would go above and beyond to “do me proud” and make sure the business was as great if not better when I returned. And this is exactly what I found.

Taking a month away from emails, traveling, appointments, and feeling like I had to do things was the best thing I ever did. I would never hesitate to do this again should I feel it the right thing to do.

I have since learned to delegate, step away—even a couple of hours earlier than normal—without feeling guilty in any way, and understand that working crazy hours is not the way life is meant to be.

A healthy work-life balance is crucial to my success and my future and that of the business. If I am going to be the leader of the business that I want to be, it’s my responsibility to make sure I show up 100% always, and only I can put myself in a position to make that happen.

A business will always take everything you give it and want more. Set your boundaries and focus on the long game.

Ben Ridler. Founder at RESULTS.com. Auckland, New Zealand.

This is one that I’ve lived and learned from.

Entrepreneurs have appalling health stats. Start a business and expect to shorten your life by 10 years or so. Mental health stats are worse with two-thirds of us having one diagnosed mental health issue and some having 2.

After leaving my last business which was 4 years of major stress, my body shut down, I took time out to recover and learn and was fortunate to be living with a health genius, Dr. Vanessa Ingraham, a lifelong health researcher and born into a medical family. Amongst her many qualifications, she’s a naturopathic doctor with a fellowship in anti-aging and regenerative medicine.

As I got more interested in the health of entrepreneurs and my own health journey, Dr. Ingraham and I extensively researched having a business to support the health of entrepreneurs. The business never launched but as part of it, I completed year-long training as a health coach with the BulletProof Training Institute and as a human potential coach.

I have just turned 50, am in the best physical and mental shape of my life, and am getting ready for the intensity of another global play in the B2B software-as-a-service space. Here are a few of the key learnings in no particular order.

1. Doctors are traditionally sickness experts and not trained in nutrition, supplements, mindfulness, circadian rhythm, etc. Their primary role is to treat symptoms.

2. You need to take responsibility for your own health. No one else can do it.

3. What we do is stressful and you need healthy release valves. Alcohol is not a health release valve and it’s a poison consumed at the levels that we consume it at.

4. The gym won’t affect your weight. It’s what you eat and drink.

5. Fat is not the enemy; sugar is. The recommended food pyramid is bad science and has been long disapproved.

6. Good nutrition and health is a way of thinking. It’s adopting a philosophy and strategy, not tactics or magic pills.

7. Mindfulness is easy to do and easy not to do; like goal setting. It is the most beneficial thing that we can do if we choose to only adopt one new habit.

Most entrepreneurs sacrifice their health for their business then something happens and they are in the hands of the sickness industry. If one is serious about having a long career as an entrepreneur, one needs to learn how to manage stress and find healthy ways to release and take ownership of one’s own health. I’ve seen many of us go by way of heart attack and cancer—both lifestyle diseases—and I’ve done a lot of damage to my health with years of high stress, alcohol, an average diet, and extreme exercise.

Now I train very little, walk a lot, and my weight has been stable for 4 years (it used to fluctuate 10 kgs every year). I don’t diet, I eat amazing food, and I’ve slowly managed to get my hormones back into balance. I’m a biohacker, I track my own medical data, get blood tests done regularly, sauna, and get outside in the sun every day that I can. It’s not rocket science but rather mainly common sense. Look at how people live in blue zones and you’ll get the idea.

Finally, remember that a business will always take everything you give it and want more. Set your boundaries and focus on the long game.

The old adage that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, isn’t quite the whole truth. The whole truth is that you’ll never stop working.

Jamie Skella. Chief Operating and Product Officer at Mogul, Former Chief Product Officer at Horizon State. Melbourne, Australia.

The old adage that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, isn’t quite the whole truth. The whole truth is that you’ll never stop working.

Yet, indeed, it doesn’t feel like a “job”. These kinds of scenarios have never led me to burnout. My lived burnout experiences have been the result of politics.

There are many good reasons that many entrepreneurs dislike the organizational complexity cliff that occurs at about 30 staff, regret establishing a board, or even wish they’d stayed private. (Elon Musk famously regrets taking Tesla public.)

That’s not to say you shouldn’t do any of these things, but it’s important to go into them understanding what the ultimate costs of this kind of success can be… with the biggest price of all being that it might not remain something you love.

Doing something you don’t genuinely love, a lot is the clearest path to burnout.

A passionate life is like a candle. When it burns, it is so captivating and we are drawn to the flame. It is in that flame that we are captivated and when we focus too much on it, everything else dims in comparison, and yet we draw closer still. If we are not careful, we eventually get too close and we burn ourselves.

Kym Huynh. Founder at WeTeachMe, Former President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Melbourne, Australia.

When I share with others what type of life I want to live, I oft state, “I want to live a life that is extraordinary in every sense of that word, and to live life as passionately as one can.” I apply this philosophy to every aspect of my life including entrepreneurship, and at times it has been to my own detriment.

A passionate life is like a candle. When it burns, it is so captivating and we are drawn to the flame. It is in that flame that we are captivated and when we focus too much on it, everything else dims in comparison, and yet we draw closer still. If we are not careful, we eventually get too close and we burn ourselves.

I have learned that passion is very much a tool that we wield. And like all tools they can be wielded to aid us in our goals and pursuits, or they can be wielded incorrectly and hinder or harm us more than it helps us. And so when I look at our I have utilized the tool of passion in my life (or any other tool for that matter), I also look at how I mitigate against its adverse effects. Often, the mitigation is in: (1) rest; and (2) making sure that all 4 areas of my life are balanced; personal, family, business, and community.

I worked weeks with only 2–3 hours of sleep because sleep was a hindrance to my success. Suddenly, I started making mistakes. I was tired during the day, and I struggled to make decisions.

Raymond Chou. Founder and CEO at Infront Consulting APAC. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Burnout is something I experienced multiple times. To mention the words “multiple” makes me cringe in personal disappointment. Burnout is not fun because we get unmotivated, tired and our ability to think straight is impaired.

I burned out in the moments when I had a string of deadlines and felt that I had the responsibility of getting everything perfectly done. Even if a teammate completed the work, I still needed to be the one to put the cherry on the top and scrutinize the entire cake.

I worked weeks with only 2–3 hours of sleep because sleep was a hindrance to my success. Suddenly, I started making mistakes. I was tired during the day, and I struggled to make decisions. This general lack of productivity lasted weeks. The worst part? I sacrificed my health.

I learned the hard way that life is a marathon and not a sprint. We can push hard but we need to listen to our body and take rests.

I learned to have yin and yang; a balance of life. We work hard but we must also rest. I make sure now I get in a 30-minute high-intensity interval training session or a 5 km jog every day. I take time to read something that grows my mind, and I am diligent with my supplements.

Without health, we can’t do all the things we dream of doing. Health is the center of everything.

It took me a long time to realize that all the stress I felt was of my own design.

Ron Lovett. Founder and Chief Alignment Officer at Connolly Owens, Founder and Chief Community Officer at Vida Living, Author at Outrageous Empowerment. Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I’ve certainly had burnout throughout my entrepreneurial career and it’s taken some time for me to reflect on why.

I experience most of my burnout during the time I owned a private physical security company.

Back then I was an entrepreneur with all the answers. Thinking you have all the answers causes everyone around you to ask lots of questions. As I starting to build the business, it was very challenging to keep up with the demands of those around me combined with wearing multiple hats in the business. It took me a long time to realize that all the stress I felt was of my own design.

The point of burnout and escalating business challenges forced me to allow others to have the autonomy to answer their own questions. This culture transformation was the first step and allowed me to step back from the day-to-day so that I could move to a different role of guidance and strategy. That was a journey in of itself and for another time. However, I can tell you that I’ve never looked back nor experienced burnout since getting the company culture right.

To me, business is a game that is meant to be enjoyed, and it is a game that I learned to play as a child, and that enjoyment has never left me.

Tony Falkenstein. Founder and CEO at Just Life Group Limited, Founder and CEO at Just Water, President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Auckland, New Zealand.

To me, business is a game that is meant to be enjoyed, and it is a game that I learned to play as a child, and that enjoyment has never left me. The circumstances have changed, but so they changed when I went from the sandpit to play snakes and ladders, from riding my bike to playing Monopoly, or from crossword puzzles to computer games.

I often wonder how people can burn out from business; it is just playing a game. However, I do understand that we are not all born the same way. I personally don’t need a holiday, as my work is like being on holiday. I recognize that most others don’t operate the same way, as they play the game too intensely and emotionally.

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Foreword

I have a confession to make: I get extremely excited every time I come across a creative person, or a person that holds within them such exuberance that it often manifests itself in a delicious cacophony of quirky character traits, unique stylistic choices, tangential thought patterns and behaviors, and an uncanny knack for seeing the world in a way that most do not, that when all combined, I find equally intoxicating and endearing.

For me, it’s the creatives that push the boundaries of what we collectively believe is possible. They dare to imagine, dare to dream, dare to believe, and in their own process of creation, create the world as they see it.

In this editorial series, I reach out to a curated list of creators who not only live and breathe the art of creation but undertake to pass on their learnings to the next generation of creatives. I find this combination of creativity and education noble, and use this editorial series as a way to delve deeper into these minds in the hopes that we too, can get a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of such noble creatives. Who knows, perhaps we will learn something along the way too.

How did your classes and workshops come to be? Why do you teach?

I didn’t anticipate that students would want to continue after the course ended. I never intended to continue Fitzroy Painting long-term but here we are

Adriane Strampp, Founder at Fitzroy Painting. Melbourne, Australia.

Fitzroy Painting started in early 2009 as a small 8‑week beginners’ course in oil painting. The Great Financial Crisis was in full swing, and my art classes were a means of keeping the studio, and the proverbial wolf from the door, until the art market picked up again. As a painter with previous teaching experience, it was a no-brainer to hold a class in my studio. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was that students would want to continue after the course ended. I never intended to continue Fitzroy Painting long-term but here we are!

The students had other ideas, and so the original Monday night painters became an ongoing weekly class (many of whom are still with us today), and another beginner’s class was added. That soon filled too and demand for more classes continued as our reputation spread, and more people wanted to join. It’s been a slow and very organic growth, growing with demand. More classes have been added, along with more tutors, each of us professional practicing artists foremost, with a passion for teaching and sharing our knowledge.

The power of food to bring people together is both so simple and natural and yet so surprisingly wonderful

Angie Chong, Founder at The Humble Dumpling. Melbourne, Australia.

I had worked in the world of commercial cookery for multiple decades and was feeling burnt out. I took a few years off to really give myself time to think about what was important to me, what inspired me, and what brought me joy. I knew it was something to do with food and with people.

I was fortunate enough to have learned so much about food and food culture from my family and in particular from my mum. I grew up in a very large extended family and every weekend we gathered in the kitchen to cook and eat together. Sometimes that would mean 40–50 kids, aunties and uncles gathered around the kitchen, sharing a meal!

It was the memories of these times; of laughing, cooking, sharing stories, and eating together that inspired my classes at The Humble Dumpling. The power of food to bring people together is both so simple and natural and yet so surprisingly wonderful. Setting the classes in my home felt more like inviting friends over for a fun family lunch. Really, I didn’t so much create these classes as much as I just provided a canvas for people to do what comes naturally.

I hope that everyone who comes to a class will be inspired to continue to bring people together through food in their own homes.

Bree, Sarah, and I established The Windsor Workshop to help us unleash our unexplored inner creativity and to help us slow down and team up.

Belinda Galloway and Bree Hankinson, Founders at The Windsor Workshop. Melbourne, Australia.

Bree, Sarah, and I established The Windsor Workshop to help us unleash our unexplored inner creativity and to help us slow down and team up.

We wanted to bring together like-minded people to partake in artistic pursuits that nurture our wellbeing. The promotion of local artists was also at the forefront of our minds in addition to being able to provide a talking point and a sensory experience for those who attend.

We all have backgrounds in artistic industries so when the opportunity to fuse our creativity and education arose, we simply could not refuse!

I asked my grandma to show me how to sew. At that time I was also bought a sewing machine as a gift. I was immediately smitten.

Danielle Francis, Director at Thread Den. Melbourne, Australia.

I have always had numerous creative hobbies, and in my early 20s, I dove deep into vintage style, mid-century furniture and décor, and 40s/50s fashion. So that I could reproduce patterns from that era, I asked my grandma to show me how to sew. At that time I was also bought a sewing machine as a gift. I was immediately smitten.

From that time until 15 years later, I never put my sewing machine away. It was always out on the dining table, or a desk, or now a dedicated space.

I was working in a corporate job and I had this dream of one day owning a haberdashery store. The job I was employed for had evolved over the years into that of training, and I discovered a joy for teaching people.

In an effort to balance work and life, I had a habit of participating in creative workshops, and one of those was a knitting workshop at Thread Den. Through that knitting workshop, I subscribed to the mailing list and attended other workshops as well.

One day an email popped into my inbox saying that they were looking for a new owner for Thread Den. It was my dream. It was about 15 years ahead of time but I decided to take the plunge i.e., leave the corporate world and run a business teaching people creative endeavors.

I’ve never looked back. I love it.

As a deaf person, with training on how to teach Auslan and develop a curriculum, l sought to combine the passion l have for Auslan, my deafness, and the opportunity to work from home

Darren Roberts, Founder and Director at The Auslan Company. Melbourne, Australia.

The Auslan Company came about for two reasons: (1) l wanted to work for myself in my own time and with my own hours so that l could look after my young children following separation from their mum; and (2) l was finishing my Bachelor of Education (Auslan) Languages Other Than English course at La Trobe University and was considering what the next step was.

As a deaf person, with training on how to teach Auslan and develop a curriculum, l sought to combine the passion l have for Auslan, my deafness, and the opportunity to work from home. Thus I created The Auslan Company in 2004.

Today my children have all grown up and l still have the passion and love delivering Auslan to workplaces, to families of deaf children through the NDIS program, to childcare centers, and in schools as an Auslan Languages Other Than English subject.

I really see it as my responsibility to inspire and mentor the next generation of coffee professionals

David Seng, Director at The Espresso School, Board of Directors and Head at Barista Guild for Australian Specialty Coffee Association, World Certified Judge WCE WBC. Melbourne, Australia.

The Espresso School was born out of the back of a cafe I was working in more than a decade ago. The owner graciously allowed me to run classes after hours which was how The Espresso School got its start.

There are plenty of reasons why I love teaching people about coffee, and one of my biggest motivations is I really see it as my responsibility to inspire and mentor the next generation of coffee professionals.

This is my way of giving back to an industry from which I have gained so much. I love seeing my students make their mark on the coffee world. Nothing makes me prouder.

There is nothing quite like putting your hands in the mud and creating something completely new from the earth

Denholm Lappas, Studio Manager at Clay Talk @ Montsalvat. Melbourne, Australia.

Clay Talk’s creation is a natural extension of Montsalvat’s already rich history as a place where art is made, taught, shown, and experienced. What started as a humble studio to reinvigorate the love of clay at Montsalvat has grown to include some 80 students and studio artists, and 6 kilns including gas, electric, and wood firing.

There is nothing quite like putting your hands in the mud and creating something completely new from the earth. The final process of transforming your material through the process of heat permanently solidifies your artwork and is an incredible experience. Nothing quite compares.

Clay Talk’s goal is to provide a place to engage with the art of ceramics and provide a holistic learning experience to a complex and multifaceted art form by providing regular classes, studio time, and advanced workshops taught by practicing artists who are experts in their field.

I take inspiration from others and I hope that my students can come away from my workshops confident and full of enthusiasm

Frosa Katsis, Founder at The Early Settler Aromatherapy Melbourne, Australia

I love science and how understanding it can explain processes and why things work. When I started making and teaching candle making it made sense to me that if I explained the science of my “cool” method, students would get it.

As to how we got started, I found a love for teaching and sharing my knowledge. I love to see other candle makers succeed in hobbies and small businesses.

I take inspiration from others and I hope that my students can come away from my workshops confident and full of enthusiasm. Most of my students are women who seek a hobby or seek to start their own business, and we have a growing number of men entering the industry.

One day, my students asked if they could see my studio which was located in those days inside a nearby warehouse. They saw it and immediately they wanted to move the classes there!

Graham Hay, Expert Ceramics Educator. Perth, Australia.

Soon after graduating from Edith Cowan University with a BVA majoring in ceramics and then a BFA honors (also ceramics) from Curtin University I was receiving more and more requests to give workshops with artist groups, art teacher associations etc. (now over 300 in a dozen countries).

So I decided to set up flexible adult pottery and sculpture classes at a local community center which proved to be very popular. One day, my students asked if they could see my studio which was located in those days inside a nearby warehouse. They saw it and immediately they wanted to move the classes there!

A few years later we moved the classes to a light-filled building in a nearby inner-city park. That was 20 years ago!

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

Don’t miss out on any new articles. Subscribe via email using the form at the bottom of this post and I’ll have the articles delivered straight to your inbox. Alternatively, you can also follow me on my various social media accounts: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.