Balancing the Grind With Linda Fowler, Manager of People and Culture at West Gippsland Libraries

Linda Fowler is the Manager of People and Culture at West Gippsland Libraries, where she is responsible for coaching and nurturing a team of 85 people.

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

My career started off in the labour hire industry having partnered in a business that supplied labour all over Australia. Before that opportunity I had jobs that centred around people but it wasn’t until this partnership that I was put on my career path.

I have worked as a consultant for many years and with some amazing business acting as a trusted advisor for the people element of business and also growth and development, which is natural for me as I have had one or two businesses over my career so it feeds my creative, entrepreneurial side.

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

Up early to meditate and exercise. The mornings are the best for me because I relish the quiet and the beginning of a day. I am a parent to two fantastic kids and while they are certainly getting older and more independent, the parenting never stops.

So when they are up and at it, it is all hands on deck until we get out the door and off to our days. I try to meditate every day because working in HR can be stressful, humans are complex characters and every days brings a new challenge so meditating helps me to stay present and mindful, which in turn helps me to manage the baggage I like to say.

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

Yes I have a CEO who absolutely promotes this and knows the value of it. Being a consultant a varied workplace and day was par for the course and stepping back into employment could have enhanced this or removed it from my day to day.

Lucky for me it has been enhanced and our culture promotes flexibility and remote working. If you have a laptop and a phone there is no need to stay in the one spot. I encourage my team to think laterally and outside the box and am very mindful of physically actioning this. Variety helps me to be happy which in turn makes me more productive.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

Stay present, always remember what is really important, know your values and set boundaries.

Working as a single Mum can be a challenge not only at work but at home and being aware of what really matters helps to prioritise your time and your mind space. Always act with your head and your heart in alignment to your values and you should be able to achieve whatever you need to achieve.

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

I am very good at saying “no”. I have fine tuned my ability to see a deadline and know the steps I need to take to achieve it and I have been very fortunate over my career to have surrounded myself with good people who know their stuff.

When you have a great team and you know the value of time then the balance becomes less of a struggle and more of a reward. There is nothing worse than not valuing time so as long as I continue to respect it, then most of it is spent in a positive way for the life I want to live.

Having capable team mates allows for time to be used well, I don’t have to do everything and I can focus on my input and output both at work and at home. I also have a ritual when I walk in the door now which helps me leave the office at the office.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Focus, listening, contemplating and always learning! I have a saying that ‘every day is a school day’ so I really put that into practice. If I am learning a better way to do something or learning that the way I do it now is pretty good, then success and balance follow.

Having a growth mindset for me helps to live successfully with balance. I also know my definition of success and use that as my compass.

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

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho came to me at a very challenging time in my life and I often revisit it for the lessons in there are valuable. I love, love, love The Saint, the Surfer, and the CEO by Robin Sharma, it too is a life changer.

7 Habits by Steven Covey or course and so many other great business books, but to be honest, each book can provide a different gift it really depends on where you are with your journey and what you are open to learning. I always have a book or two on the go, it is very important to my mindset.

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

I practice an attitude of gratitude as best I can and I focus on the positive. In a trying world this can be a challenge right but I figure I can only do what I can do. I cant control what happens to me but I can control how I respond.

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

If I were to leave a legacy behind I would want it to clearly show that trying counts, winning helps and losing teaches. We are all defined by our actions to others and I hope that over time I have learned to better mine to have a positive impact on others either at work or out of work.

I am the same person on or off the job, my moral compass is my guide and while I don’t always get it right, I always get it.

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.