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Balancing the Grind with Felicity Furey, Founder of the Professional Leaders Institute

Felicity Furey is a specialist in emerging leadership and founder of the Millennial Leadership Program, helping aspiring leaders develop practical skills and experiences.

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

Growing up I wanted to be an inventor and create things but didn’t know what that would look like as a job. I stumbled into civil engineering and spent over a decade building large infrastructure projects in Australia.

Along the way I got fed up with the lack of women in engineering and that led me to start three businesses. Power of Engineering and Maths in Real Life work with high schools to attract diversity into engineering and WeAspire helps future leaders be confident and ready to lead. 

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

Work as a business owner can be a bit chaotic at times, especially now that I have a 10 month old baby. The most important part of my day is my morning routine. It gets me focused and set up in the right mindset.

I get up at 6am and do journaling, vision setting, goal review, reading, meditation then I listen to an audio book and do some exercise. Then you will find me on the phone, in meetings, brainstorming ideas, getting creative and delivering workshops or training for aspiring leaders.

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

Yes, absolutely, my husband and I have made the choice to work remotely as much as possible and in April we made the brave choice to get a place up at the Sunshine Coast. We plan to spend as much time as possible here and pop back to Melbourne when we need to.

I have found I work best when surrounded by nature and trees on or the road perched in a busy cafe. To make it work though I find I have to be intentional with my goals and what I want then take action to achieve them. Flexible working is very self driven and takes initiative so you need to be in the right mindset for that.

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

I love the concept of work life integration over work life balance, kind of mixing them together and it’s a growing trend in the Millennial generation which we work with. What work life integration means to me is making work, running my businesses and being a leader is a lifestyle.

This has me do the work I am good at and I enjoy, in my genius zone, and doing it when it works for me. This looks like going for a run will have me think better instead of forcing an outcome. I now embrace routine and structure to my day but acknowledge flexibility is often needed.

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

After having a baby my morning routine fell out for about three months and then when we went through the second lock down in Melbourne. Having a consistent morning routine really helped me get through the most challenging days. My husband and I added in regular walks, something I never did, and I have loved continuing walks together or alone most days.

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

 Reading really helps me think positive and nourish my brain. Last year I read a book a month and this year I’m doing a book a week. My favourites so far have been Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork by Dan Sullivan, Useful Belief by Chris Helder and Profit First by Mike Mikalowisk and my all time favourites are The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and The Magic of Thinking Big – I read it every year.

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

Can’t live without my iPhone, Audible and I got an Apple Watch for Christmas. I didn’t think I would use the watch too much but it’s great to be hands free and on the go with the baby. Most recently I have had a couple of high pressure live TV interviews and keynote presentations and the breathe for one minute feature on the watch has been great to get centred and focused.

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

 How others do it, and make everything work. What do they prioritise and what do they let go of or say no to. It’s often the things we say no to that give us the most space and balance.

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

We are told throughout our life how to do it and what the boundaries are. We get this drilled into us from school and our education system. It makes sense to do that here but not to live our life.

What if everything in life was optional (it is) and you got to say yes to it because you want to do it not because of what society says. Fight for what you want rather than what others tell you you want or what you think others want from you.

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.