Is work-life balance in the 21st century a myth? With ever increasing workloads and responsibilities, many of us are overwhelmed trying to manage the boundaries between our professional and personal lives and often lack perspective to see how to make changes to do anything better.
Author John Drury knows this too well, having had a painful personal experience with burnout while in a senior leadership role. In his new book, Integrate, John draws upon his own experience as well as decades of helping others, to provide a practical methodology that enables high achievers to pursue professional goals without neglecting their personal lives. It's about integrating all the elements into a clear and workable plan that brings clarity and peace of mind. The strategies and examples included empower readers with the tools to take responsibility for their own health, define what they really want out of life, and work towards long term goals.
Told in three stages, readers learn to:
Develop a healthy foundation of self-respect
Implement achievable self-management strategies.
Accessibly written and full of relatable, implementable advice, Integrate shows that it's still possible to pursue your passion, achieve extraordinary success and build a great lifestyle.
John Drury is a presenter, trainer, facilitator and mentor. He has led and served people for 30 years – from a youth worker in SW Sydney to founder and CEO of a large community organisation in the Blue Mountains. He has trained leaders across Australia and in 15 nations and been a Director on 4 International Boards.
Author: John Drury
Question: What inspired you to write Integrate?
John Drury: My painful personal experience with burnout after 23 years as CEO of a large community organisation led me on a journey of firstly survival and then recovery. I had served other people for so long I had forgotten how to look after myself. I can remember getting to a day off and not knowing what to do. I could not relax. I was restless, jaded, and often irritable. After I resigned my senior role it took me a couple of years to recover, but in the process I made some poor decisions and lost my marriage. During my recovery journey I kept a journal that helped me reflect on what was happening for me. When I started working as a Business Mentor I found that many business owners and corporate executives were battling the same issues as me. This stirred my passion to help high achievers avoid the painful consequences of not looking after themselves in their busy lives. The origins of the book are from that time.
Question: What point did you reach when you realised you had to re-evaluate your work/life balance?
John Drury: Funnily enough it was a few months after I had resigned my role and left my marriage. I had responded to a flyer in my letter box to join an outdoor exercise class in a nearby park. I joined up for 3 classes per week. After the first 3 weeks of muscle pain, I started to really enjoy it. I was so much less stressed and feeling much better in myself. It was then I started to realise that if I had carved out the time for regular exercise when I was in a high demand role I might not have lost my way so badly. Now I know there is a huge link between physical fitness and emotional and mental well-being. Ever since then I have been putting into action steps that help integrate my work with all that is important in my life.
Question: Can you share the first step we need to take to reach a real work/life balance?
John Drury: Firstly, I do not believe in work-life balance. If you are passionate about your career or business, and find great purpose in it, then you are not going to be balanced. The key is to integrate your work with all that is important in your life.
The key to making integration work really starts with you. You need to know what you want from your life, and from your work. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses, your values and purpose. The clearer you are around these things the easier it is to determine the boundaries of your life. To me this is all about self-respect. With healthy self-respect you will be secure enough to take responsibility for your life. Without healthy self-respect you will be insecure, you will compromise, you will want to keep your options open and never really know what you want. You will have a problem saying -No!' and be pulled this way and that all the time. That is why you must start by working on you, and becoming healthy on the inside.
Question: What is self-care and how can we learn to prioritise it?
John Drury: Self-care is the awareness that I need to look after myself (health, finances, emotional health), and my important relationships, in order to make sure I have the energy and motivation to run my business or build my career long term. Work is more like a marathon than a sprint. In my experience the things that are most likely to undermine your business success come from neglected priorities in your personal life rather than from business related matters. Healthy self-respect will enable you to build your business life around effective self-care strategies that work for you. This enables you to be sharp and have energy and focus for high impact times. E.g. the first thing on my calendar each year are my holidays.
Question: What are your long-term goals?
John Drury: My long-term goals include: helping as many high achievers as possible become successful AND build a great lifestyle; as I do the same myself. I also want to write several more books around the subjects of living and finishing life well. More personally, my wife and I have several travel goals, including climbing Mt Kinabalu in East Malaysia (highest mountain in SE Asia), and 6 weeks in Europe in 2019 built around attending the Ashes Test Match at Lords in London.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Author: John Drury