Balancing the Grind with Andrew Griffiths, Author, Global Speaker & Coach

Andrew Griffiths is a global speaker, coach and business author; his latest book is: Someone Has To Be The Most Expensive Why Not Make It You?

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

I’m an entrepreneur through and through. I bought my first business when I was 17 and I’ve pretty much been self-employed for the last 38 years, with the occasional “real job” thrown in for good measure.

I’m a commercial diver by trade, but I’ve done things as diverse as selling encyclopaedias door to door, teaching bush survival skills to mineral exploration teams, running my own marketing company and lots more.

Twenty years ago I wrote a book about marketing for small business owners. It was published by Allen & Unwin. I was very lucky as the book really took off and became very successful.  Since then I’ve written thirteen more, my latest is Someone Has To Be The Most Expensive Why Not Make It You?, all of which have become bestsellers.

My books have been sold in over 65 countries, translated into many languages. I’ve become a professional speaker and business coach. I’ve delivered keynote presentations in over 25 countries, as diverse as Iran, USA, Japan and Mexico. So, I guess you could say I’ve come a long way from that first business when I was 17, but I’m still an entrepreneur through and through. 

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

I’m an early riser, I always have been. So typically I get up about 5.30am, spend a little time enjoying the peace and quiet that early morning offers, collecting my thoughts whilst getting ready for the day ahead.

At 7am I go for a walk to my favourite coffee shop (5,000 steps), where I have two coffees and plan my key tasks and activities for the day. I head home and get into the day which would generally have one or two coaching sessions, some media interviews or writing of articles to be done.

I spend a lot of time on ZOOM these days as travel is so restricted, so a lot of my speaking jobs are done remotely. I might be delivering one of those during the afternoon or planning for one. I like to go for a walk at lunchtime, just to get a few more steps in. 

I tend to do more creative work in the afternoon. This might be writing, creating videos, developing products or programmes, the stuff I really love to do. I tend to wrap up around 6.30pm and call it a day. Dinner, catch ups and generally chilling out and in bed by about 9am. That’s a pretty typical day for me at the moment. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

I’ve been flexible and remote working for many years now. As an author and speaker, I have always travelled a lot, typically being on the road for a few weeks every month, in fact this is the longest that I’ve been in the one spot ever in my life.

I find that when I’m not travelling as much I have the opportunity to have a better lifestyle. There is more routine, it’s easy to plan, I get to set the agenda. As anyone who travels a lot for work will tell you, it’s tough on the body to be on the go all of the time, especially with international travel.

I’m feeling healthier and more balanced now than I have felt in a long time, but I miss the excitement and stimulation that comes with travel and the work I do internationally. 

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

It’s an interesting question. I wrote a book sometime back called A 101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life. These days I call it my first work of fiction.

At the time the conversation about work-life balance was just beginning and I was seeing so many burned out and fried business owners, including myself, that I wanted to write a simple book that others could use to give them some advice and easy to implement tips that might just help them find some kind of balance.

Today, I’ve realised a few things about myself. I’m a worker, I always have been, I always will be. And I like that. I don’t ever imagine retiring, and laying on a beach or growing flowers (of course I realise that retirement can mean a lot more for most people), but I like the work  I do, I love the stimulation and challenge and I really enjoy being at the wiser end of my career.

So balance for me now means I get to pick and choose the work I want to do. I get to decide who I want to work with, the types of projects I want to do. And I get to make the call on how much I want to do. So this is freedom for me and the older I get, the more balanced I feel when I have this freedom. 

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

The main routine that has come to a grinding halt for me has been travelling. And whilst it might seem that there are no real routines when travelling, my experience is very different.

When I speak to others who travel a lot for work, they all have very specific routines about everything to do with their travel – from who they fly with, the seats they choose, to the hotels where they stay, to their day when on the road, what to pack and so on.

So no travel – no travel routine. But I definitely feel that not travelling as much as usual has really helped me to develop healthier habits at home. Specifically with how I eat and the exercise that I do. I like the routine now, but don’t get me wrong, I’ll be on those planes again as soon as I can. 

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

I read a lot of books – it comes with the territory. And now I teach other people to write books, so I spend a lot of time reviewing manuscripts for others. I get to read some very good books as a result of this.

At the moment I’m enjoying going back and re-reading some of the older books that I haven’t read for a long time, seeing what I take out of them now as compared to what I took out of them all of those years back.

Things like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. But amongst these I do like to keep my eye on the new releases to see who is writing what. I love the work of Brene Brown, such a wonderful author and human being. And I love the book Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

One of my favourite products is the good old notebook. I buy the same brand and style of notebook, I have been buying them for years, and I’ve got everyone I’ve ever filled in. I love to write with a pen and I will scroll away for hours every day.

So when I’m going anywhere or doing anything, my trust notebook is always with me. That said, I’ve also bought a REMARKABLE digital tablet. I prefer this to my iPad, simply because it is less distracting and great for capturing ideas electronically and being able to file them or convert them to type.

And the last but not least app that I like a lot is called OmmWriter – it’s a great app to use when writing as it blocks everything else out on your computer so that you don’t write distractedly. I love it. 

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

I think there is enough written about the day to day lives of the exciting entrepreneurs, the Richards, Elons, Bills and Steves of the world. I love hearing about the lives of those people doing extraordinary things that we have never heard of.

The scientists, the inventors, the farmers, the artists. More and more I’m being drawn to the stories of the lesser known people doing what I think are remarkable things. 

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

I think we all need to really define what we want our lives to look like. Balance means such different things to different people. We need to really know what balances us – and do more of it. It sounds so simple, but as I’ve grown to realise, the most powerful things generally are the simplest of things.

For example, I know that spending time in nature is key to me feeling relaxed, focused, calm and happy. Hence I do my utmost to spend as much time as I can in wild places, rich with wildlife, great forests and spectacular views.

Whilst I can’t spend every day in places like this, I can choose to travel virtually, read more about these places, watch more documentaries, and learn more online. And I can also choose to find a beautiful park and sit on a bench, or go for a walk by a river or lake. When we really know what balances us individually, and we spend as much time as we can doing it, life becomes much more rewarding in every way.

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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.