Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Damien Fitzpatrick, Founder of PILLAR Performance

Damien Fitzpatrick is a recently retired NSW Waratah who has turned his attention to micro-nutrition by launching his range PILLAR Performance.

Looking for your dream start-up role? Sign up for global career opportunities with The Nudge Group!

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

I played professional rugby for 12 years between Australia and France. I retired in 2020 and am now the founder of PILLAR Performance; Australia’s first sports micronutrition brand. 

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

Usually begins before 5am. I like having time in the morning to clear my inbox and prepare for the work day ahead before I head out to exercise.

I give myself between 6am-7am to get in some exercise which usually involves a few kilometres in the ocean followed by a quick coffee with my wife, Jade (our staffy Vinnie is always in close proximity also). It’s then into the office to begin the workday. The workday is pretty manic as with most start-up businesses so no one day ever looks the same.

I love the energy you get from working in an office with other people and I am certainly looking forward to having our team back under one roof when rules permit. We are currently planning our events plan for 2022, it will be a very busy time but will be awesome to have the PILLAR brand out and be a part of some world class events.

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

The team is currently working remotely and we are doing our best in this regard. I am actually still going into the office as it is close to home and separates work from home life for me. I have a tendency not to be able to switch off from work so this has helped me. If I have calls after 7pm though, I will usually take them from home.

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

I find having a strict schedule in the mornings allows me to tick off a few of the ‘life’ boxes I like to do in a day before getting stuck into the work day. 

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

I have stopped playing sports professionally, so as you can imagine many of my routines that I was used to in relation to that have been a big learning curve. 

The biggest probably diet and not having to have my day revolve around fueling to perform. Disappointingly, I have had to stop the post dinner protein smoothie that I was accustomed to! 

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

I recently read Barack Obama’s book. It’s a great read and gives you an amazing perspective on the toll a role such as the US Presidency takes. 

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

My Garmin! I love to keep track of my splits in the ocean when swimming so sometimes forgetting to put it on in the morning is very frustrating. Not that I am really training for anything, but it helps motivate me during sessions.

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

I would be quite interested in reading one from Jack Dorsey (Twitter founder and now CEO of square). 

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

My goal post my career was to find something I could call ‘work’ and be as passionate about it as I was when playing rugby which never felt like a job (even though I was getting paid to do it). Founding a brand in a category I am truly passionate about has enabled the lines between work and life to be blurred, in a good way.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.

Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.

Start-up Founders, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Accelerators – hear them all talk about their stories where they went wrong, what went right and what they learned!
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.