Coaches / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Cassandra Goodman, Activator, Coach & Strategic Advisor

Cassandra Goodman is an Activator, Coach & Strategic Advisor, who is currently growing her own coaching and consulting business. She is also working with Thrive Global as a coach and facilitator.

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

I describe myself as an activator. My signature strength is Zest, which is a blend of vitality and courage and I feel like I have spent most of my adult life on a quest to explore and activate the depth of my vitality and potential.

Two of my favourite quotes are “Life is a great adventure or nothing” (Hellen Keller) and “Tell me, what is it you plan to do your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver). I believe that most of us live our lives as bonsai-sized versions of ourselves.

I love to share what I learning in my personal quest with anyone who also has a deep yearning to grow and express the fullness of their true capabilities.

I spent the first 20 years of my working life working in various leadership roles in a range of large in organisations, including GE, Origin Energy and Bupa. I have been fortunate to work both in Australia and overseas and my corporate career provided me with many wonderful opportunities to travel and see the world.

The best role I held in my corporate career was at Bupa where I was the Global Director of Employee Engagement and Wellbeing, responsible for activating Bupa’s purpose ‘Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives’ purpose for its 86,000 employees. That was just so much fun and such rewarding work.

After 20 years working for other organisations, I wanted to play with the idea of being my own boss. So, for the last few years, I have been growing my own coaching and consulting business.

I am also working on my first book and working with Thrive Global as a coach and facilitator. Thrive Global, is an organisation founded and led by Arianna Huffington, someone I greatly admire.

When I am not working, I love spending time with my two young sons and my husband, preferably chilling out at home in my ugg boots!

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

At the moment my days are pretty nutso if I am honest (yes that is a made-up word). I am integrating home-schooling for two young kids with coaching my clients, consulting and also book-writing.

My current routine is to get up at 5:30 to do an hour of work on my book. I then go for a run and do a little bit of yoga and a quick meditation (if things are calm on the home-front). I am trying to spend the mornings with the boys and given them my full attention as we power through their school work.

On good days I get a few hours in the afternoons to do my client-facing work and consulting. Given I know so much about the science of sleep and the impact lack of sleep has on our performance, immunity and overall wellbeing I make sure I always get 7 hours sleep.

So as soon as the boys are in bed I am also straight in bed with a good book, or perhaps watching a little bit of TV with my husband (our favourite show at the moment is the Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix with Drew Barrymore because it makes us both laugh). It is very rare for me not to be fast asleep by 10pm!

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

Being my own boss means that I have a huge amount of flexibility!

At the bottom of my email signature is the following little disclaimer: Working flexibly enables me to create harmony between my commitment to my family and my desire to thrive and play big. If you receive this email outside of normal business hours, please know that I have no expectation that you will respond out-of-hours.

Of course, the really big drawback of running your own business is that at time such as this one, my income is reduced, however I am using this time to focus on my book and support my existing coaching clients. I am really hopeful that I will be able to grow my business in 2021.

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

I don’t believe in work-life balance. For me, the word ‘balance’ implies a precarious moment-in-time feat rather than a sustainable way of living and working.

My goal every day is to integrate my personal and professional pursuits and responsibilities to create harmony between all three of my ‘loves’ – the people I love, the work I love and the love of myself (expressed through self-compassion and self-care)

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?

Oh gosh, there are just so many. This is exactly what I am compiling, refining and sharing in my book (available in early 2021). The books will share a really comprehensive collection of practices for staying well and exploring and activating our true potential.

For me, one of the key practices that underpin sustainable wellbeing and performance it the practice of understanding and honouring non-negotiables.

My non-negotiables are the things I need every day to fill my cup. My daily non-negotiables are: exercise, meditation, a sense of progress on work that really matters and time when I am fully present with my family and friends.

Honouring these things required constant vigilance around the stories in my head that sabotage my efforts to give myself these things. These may be stories about unworthiness, selfishness being a martyr or victim or being too “busy and important” to look after myself.

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

My book collection is one of my most precious possessions. I have an insatiable thirst for learning and I have experienced profound personal growth through books. I include a full list of the books that I highly recommend on my website here.

If I was forced to recommend just one book for our current context it would be Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN by Tara Brach

I also have a list of the quotes that have really inspired me here.

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

The number one thing I do is prioritise self-care. I live by the idea that we have to be able to put own oxygen mask on first. If I don’t take care of myself I can’t take care of others in the way I want to.

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

Jacinda Ardern – I think she is one of the best leaders we have ever seen.

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

Reading the book The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship by David Whyte was a total game-changer for me. I devoured this book during my Christmas holiday a few years ago.

When I finished it, I put it down the book and burst into tears. As a mum and a wife and someone who also sees their work as a calling, this book gave me permission to embrace and harmonise all these loves without shame or guilt.

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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.