Candice Mama is the Co-CEO at AIME, a company that uses imagination, mentoring and unlikely connections to create a fairer world.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
Wow, this is a big question. Whenever I summarise my career I always say I am simply a transformational story teller, by that I mean everything I have done to date is rooted in story in some form, whether it be standing on stages as a motivational speaker or helping people re-narrate their pain into a story of victory and not victimhood.
Unlike most people, my career started soon after I forgave the apartheid assassin who murdered my father. I became worldwide news for about two weeks. During that time a well known university chancellor invited me to do a keynote to close this chapter of my life.
That keynote, much like many of life’s best moments, became the turning point in my life as soon as I realised how it impacted others. From there I became a human rights activist using my personal story and I’ve travelled the world working in post-conflict societies crafting and being a part of real systematic change.
At this very moment I am serving as the co-ceo for AIME, an organisation that started in Australia and is now running in 52 countries around the world. We are collectively focused on creating systematic solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems. It is truly an honour to work with the entire team and be inspired daily by their dedicated focus in being a cog in the wheels of change.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
This question makes me giggle at times because my life is so incredibly different from day to day. For example, just last week I was in Sydney and we were a part of throwing the Human Kind Festival with over 5000 attendees which meant the entire team was moving sets, rehearsing, doing puppet training and so much more while I also had a keynote and panel. These were long, rewarding days.
To days like today, where I am doing zoom meetings, writing, and sorting out some life admin responsibilities that I haven’t been able to attend to due to my travels.
My days are always changing and in many ways, I have designed my life in a way that allows me to be adventurous and impactful in a non static way. I live every day with a feeling that if today were my final day I would be happy. Thankfully, on most days the answer is, yes!!!
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
I love this question because on my podcast I interviewed entrepreneur John Lee and I asked him this very question and his answer changed my perspective. He said we should never strive for work life balance because we will always feel like we are failing in one area or another, we should strive for work life integration.
For some reason he said that gave me permission to breathe, much like many ambitious people I have always felt like I work too much. Until I realised my work isn’t simply what I do for a paycheck, it’s who I am. Therefore learning how to integrate other aspects of my life into my identity served not only me but those around me.
I still spend a lot more time working than doing other things, however I am very invested in being fully present in all areas of my life when I make time for them. So when I’m with my family, friends or at the gym. I ensure that I am fully available with no distractions.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
Change is my middle name, I absolutely love and thrive within constantly assessing and shifting things in my life. I do not believe that we can reach our highest potential unless we are 100% truthful with who we are or of our shortcomings. A big shift I made in the past year was working with fewer clients in order to prioritise rest, which is something I haven’t done since I started my career.
This small shift has improved my mental health, relationships and even my productivity because I have more time to reflect on the decisions I make. So often we fear that if we slow down we will lose relevance or revenue, whereas now I only do things that create impact in the world around me.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Personal Socrates by Marc Champagne
- The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
- Diary of a CEO
- The Joy of Procrastination
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Do less and do it well. This is a principal I have adopted in the past year which seems so simple but as we know simple doesn’t mean easy. I have had to stop and realise that it’s great to be busy and constantly working because society has somehow convinced us the only way to succeed is by being a human being and not a human being.
Understanding the reason why we do what we do, gives us the freedom to choose the journey we want to take to accomplish it. Life is a finite experience and there is absolutely no use in burning yourself out and not enjoying the road trip in front of you because as we all know death is guaranteed but life is not. So I would end by saying to infuse massive amounts of joy into your life even if it means making a little less money you will have a far more fulfilled life.
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