Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Ariana Dunne, Founder of Mentor HR

Ariana Dunne is the Founder of Mentor HR, a company aimed at headhunting, recruiting, training and coaching candidates for various roles within the media industry and beyond.

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

Until November 2018 I worked for over 15 years in the highly pressurised, highly stressful world of media sales.

I was working for some of the biggest publishing companies in the world including Daily Mail Group, Bauer Media, Telegraph Group, Dennis Publishing, Maximum Media, Joe Media and latterly Sheology.

But after a particularly stressful year at the height of my career I suffered burn out. I had been working 14 hour days, not sleeping, not eating, not seeing family and friends. Everything was about the job and the deadlines.

So I made the decision, to quit my job and take some time out by booking into a writers and artists retreat retreat for three months in a tiny French Village called Labastide Esparberenique, to start writing my book (which I am still writing).

It was an incredible experience one which really changed my life and made me realise I wanted to get out of media and try to make some kind of difference in the world. So I decided to retrain.

I have two new accreditations behind me including a Diploma in Life and Business Coaching and an accreditation with the IIOC as a Celebrant. And in November last year I left my job, two days later bought a puppy and have spent the last 12 months working for myself.

I am enjoying making money doing lots of different things including one to one coaching, corporate coaching for large media agencies, recruiting and training via my company Mentor HR, freelance sales, public speaking, celebrancy, dog walking, writing and lecturing.

When people ask me what I do these days I say I do what I am good at and passionate about that helps other people and that allows me to live the life I want to lead.

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

My days are very varied given the 8 different roles I have, I work 16 hours a week for a magazine, so when I am not doing that I am working on my recruitment business, screening CVs doing telephone interviews and organizing meetings.

I might be prepping for my lecturing classes teaching digital media in UCD or I am jumping in my car for a face to face coaching session with one of my coaching clients.

Whatever I do though I always take an hour a day to walk my dog along with her best dog friend Lucy who I get paid to walk also. I always have a nice breakfast and lunch and generally down tools at 6.30pm to relax for the evening.

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

Yes very much so working for myself allows me to work from home or abroad and I get to pick and choose my hours which is great because I can do whatever I want to do in any given week whether it be go away for the weekend, doing chores at home or simply just take some time to myself.

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

I don’t think work-life balance exists but instead prefer to talk about a work life blend. Blending all the parts of your life together so that you can flow through life instead of always trying to remain balanced which we all know can make you a bit wobbly at times.

When I started working for myself I diversified my revenue streams, not putting all my eggs in one basket meant I had less worry about where my money was coming from. I reevaluated my measurement of success and questioned what success looked like for me.

For me it is doing what I am passionate about, good at that helps other people and allows me to live the life I want to lead. So whats the life I want to lead, pay my mortgage and bills, look after my Mum, go on a few holidays per year, buy some new clothes every now and again that’s it.

I don’t need anything else so so long as I can do that then I’m happy.

5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?

I was born with confidence but I do think it is important to keep your self esteem and confidence levels up, because with confidence you can achieve anything.

Self belief is so important to success so be kind to yourself, tell yourself you are great even when you don’t feel like you are. Smile at your reflection.

Often our worst critics are ourselves so start with that, big yourself up, give yourself a platform to jump from and stop waiting for everyone else to do things to improve your life. Improve your own life.

6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Eat That Frog, How to Win Friends & Influence People and all Roald Dahl’s books from when I was a child as he undoubtedly helped to fuel my imagination and believe in magic. He also made me want to be a writer.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Shower. I have a shower everyday. Water falls over my head and wakes me up. I also have some of my most creative thoughts in the shower and it’s probably the only time when I have 15 minutes to myself of absolute solitude.

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

Barack Obama.

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

You are more than enough.

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!

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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.