Balancing the Grind with Alistair Hart, Corporate Wellness Specialist at Hartspace

Alistair Hart is a Corporate Wellness Specialist at Hartspace, a company that supports high performance leaders, teams and cultures in the worlds top organisations to find stable and sustainable wellbeing.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Sure. After graduating from Mac Uni in 2012 with a Bach Int. studies, and a Masters of Int Comms and Masters Int Relations I saw a unique opportunity to enter the social media landscape.

At the time, it was the boom of apps, everything was being put onto an app. It was then I went about launching a start-up, which after many trials and tribulations in an emerging and unregulated market I was able to launch with a cofounder, who was an actuary at one of the big four. 

The location based messages service we launched in a short time was crushed by a well funded US competitor, almost identical, and in time the startup flat-lined circa 2016. I continued working in the tech development sector in agency land and then moved into enterprise solutions within the Microsoft partner network.

While all of this was going on I was also battling health issues, random illnesses that were hard to detect and even harder to diagnose (from IBS to parasites). It really hit my mental health hard and put me on a path to wellbeing and was more of a spiritual journey. Ultimately leading me into yoga, meditation and pilates. 

My last ‘corporate’ role was working in a private family office in mining as the Head of Digital in 2019, until I realised I wasn’t living true to who I really was. It’s then, with a bit of uncertainty that I entered the wellness industry as a yoga, meditation and pilates instructor.

I launched my organisation to support others dealing with crippling, stress and anxiety and the feeling of being trapped. Today we support communities through our All Body Wellness Programs, online and in person.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Sure, today I started my day with light yoga and a 30 minute meditation. Then with coffee in hand I went to work with my VA and created about half of my social media posts for the month ( 3 x value add posts a day).

Some of these drive viewers to some complimentary products like a Breathwork Program for anxiety, others to free meditations for self-confidence, while most just add value in my unique way.

I’ve been experimenting with content volume and trying to increase quality and quantity as I prepare to launch a low cost front end product for meditation and mindfulness. To launch this digital program, I have prepared the outline script for these meditations.

Because it’s a 30 day performance program I have been sourcing some really good music to go with these. I managed to strike a partnership deal with a really great composer which was awesome.

I’ll start recording this week and hope to have 60 x 10 minute meditations, all different. I’m hoping to record and edit them within 10 days (I hope). I like to be in a good space to record these meditations because they are a form of self-guided hypnosis. Meaning the energy and intention behind them is very important, as well as the studio quality recording.

I’ve also updated some of the landing pages and funnels that the content I created links to. I’d like to now start writing the email nurture sequence for this product before I ride my bicycle to teach some evening classes of reformer pilates at my local studio here in Manly. I’ll get back home about 8:30pm for dinner, and then a hot and then cold shower, and wind down with a book before bed. 

I’ll be up teaching my reformer pilates classes tomorrow that start at 5:45am until mid day. When I’m not working in a studio, or working in my 1:1 coaching I’m building my online business. As I love surfing, when the surf is good I surf!

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Great question, it’s something I try to embody as I teach it at a high level to some very successful and busy people, like your readers.

For me it means doing the best you can with a high level of integrity, so that you know inside of yourself upon self-reflection at the end of the day that you really did as much as you could and didn’t just waste your precious time.

This for me, has to be sustainable. If that means staying at your desk busting out some deep work for hours of uninterrupted flow and then dealing with people all day in face to face meetings then there has to be time in there for yourself to decompress. 

As a teacher I’m sometimes working directly with 80 people, each with different needs, all in a matter of hours. Back-to-back. So for me, taking some time to breathe, stretch my legs, lie in the sun, eat, drink and take time to just be.

For me, my cornerstone is a meditation practice I do every-day that takes about 18 minutes. It’s a form of meditation that aims to still the mind completely to have no thoughts at all, and get’s the brain into a hypnagogic state, into the theta brainwave. 

It’s a profound state to get into and all I can do is set myself up to get into that space and if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t then I get another shot at it tomorrow. It’s a lineage based teaching meaning it’s given from teacher to student.

This is for me, is my cheat sheet. If I can get into the zero point focus even for a few seconds or minutes, then it feels like I got an extra 2 hours of sleep and feel very calm. Also as a surfer, if the surfs pumping everything goes on hold and I have to make it up elsewhere which can be tough. But that’s the cost I’m willing to pay.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’ve recently stopped caring about how I am perceived in the world. As I started to share more openly about my life and my experiences, in my content and in coaching sessions I know some people in the broader community, online and in person, will not relate. I’ve got good at reading the room per se but my role as a life coach, wellness trainer and meditation teacher calls me to talk from direct experience.

To do this confidently I’ve learned to share from the scar rather than the wound. So others can see the path to healing. I’m not a medical health professional, and refer people to see them, but as a teacher I have people reaching out all the time for mental and emotional support. 

It’s big, as a result it’s drawn me to share more about my own journey and as I do others will be drawn and seek to connect, while some are repelled. This really used to throw me. 

As someone who is pretty empathetic and happy, I like to radiate good vibes and inspire others, because that’s how I’m wired. For some, to have people like that in their lives irritates them to the core. A few experiences over lockdown, for example being subject to gossip, or being very disliked by some neighbours really threw me. 

Because I work from home, like many others, and being a personal brand it’s meant I say and do what I need to empower people to find the solution inside of themselves that they are searching for. So much of my work with clients and in content creation centres on ‘healing’ and personal transformation, and while being respectful, I had one neighbour who hated hearing positive reinforcement. He just did not like it, or me. It was also like this yin and yang energy right next door to each other. 

That was a massive journey to overcome, to try and find a solution to resolve it. I know a lot of people are doing it tough, and being in the mental health space I want to support people not aggravate them. Unfortunately this neighbour in particular was non responsive.

I tried everything short of moving to mediate this. I tried to appease, then started sending love and compassion, but often that made it worse, so over the last 12 months I’ve just let go of trying to support those who don’t want it, ask for it or appreciate it. It sounds simple enough.

Other than that I’ve upped my Zinc, Vit C, Iodine (unless pregnant) intake when the flu is going around or covid was running rampant. I’ve also started back strength and conditioning training. I’m in a growth mindset at the moment, and have some personal goals.

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I’ve recently started listening to The Game by Alex Hormozi. Short and concise sales, marketing and business development hacks from a guy that is straight down the line. I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand which was a milestone. I often turn to the books on my bookshelf each week, opening some pages from Osho, or Napoleon Hill. Autobiography of a Yogi is the one book I would recommend to any reader. Steve Jobs was famous for gifting his employees. 

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

People who have big challenges, like financial stress, insolvency, hospital bills, or crazy debt, and have to work with this hanging over their head. But maintain a positive approach to balancing the grind that technically wants to crush them. Sadly there are more and more people going to be in this space it looks like so the more knowledge and high level tools that can be shared ahead of time the better. 

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

The body you have will last you for your lifetime. So look after it each and every day, move it, grow it, challenge it. 

The quality of your life is also reflective of your emotional health so keep checking in, when something hurts or shows up, sit with it, work with it. This self-care helps it not to fester and become a chronic issue or an unresolved problem later on in life. 

For example it could be a relationship that did not get resolved and left you bitter, family or professional. It could be the feeling of shame or guilt from something in the past. This is all emotional debt and if you clear it as it comes up your energy is less drained by it and you can focus on the things that give you good energy.

What you resist persists and sometimes the hardest thing to do is sit with what makes you uncomfortable. This is personal transformation at its core and only you can change your life. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.