Balancing the Grind with Matt Di Marco, Co-Founder & Director at Inti APAC

Matt Di Marco is the Co-Founder & Director at Inti APAC, a sustainability advisory that deconstructs the barriers in front of you to accelerate your journey to a sustainable and successful future.

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

My background is Environmental Science and one day, 8 years ago, I was thrown into the Sustainability space (not entirely by choice), and have never looked back!

Sustainability Consulting, especially in the Infrastructure and Manufacturing industries was stale and from a contractors perspective, there was not really anyone out there with influential history, background and experience in the day-to -day grind of sustainability in the planning, design and construction phase. And that’s what the industry needed in an Advisory.

Inti APAC was born over a year ago and we wanted to change the usual grey pants, blue shirt type of advisory and inject an energetic feel and on the ground experience to Sustainability Advisory. A genuine, professional and no bullshit approach.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

  • Delivering quality work to projects
  • Managing a team
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Chasing future projects
  • Keeping people happy (impossible haha)
  • Keeping investors happy
  • Maintaining client relationships and generating new relationships
  • Expanding the business
  • Dool cool shit with cool people
  • What is lacking is time to look after me

This might look like a typical week, but in my startup experience, I touch on everything above in a single day.

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

At Inti I wanted to redefine how we work. I offer a 4 day work week to our full time employees as well as many other employment structures. I want them to focus on their happiness outside of work as it will affect how they work.

Unfortunately, the pressures of business get the best of me, always wanting to put others first, but I consequently ignore my own work-life balance. When 16 hour days become the norm, I lose sight of what I preach and don’t practise it myself.

Work-life balance to me is happiness. At the beginning we ask every employee to write down 5 things that make them happy. From the smell of an espresso in the morning, a hug from a loved one or an activity that takes them away from the pressures of life. We ask everyone to keep those written down and in sight everyday and to make this their focus. This is what work life balance means to me.

My approach needs to change and to lead by example, but finding it difficult to build a business competing against international organisations and maintain a balance.

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?

I have tried to:

  • No meetings before 10am
  • Take up boxing, channelling frustrations
  • Check the surf every morning, surfing is my mediation
  • Listen to my body and my mind, which I don’t do.

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?

Not new – but podcast ‘Diary of a CEO’ helped a lot, as well as Mo 1 Billion Happy.

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?

I have suffered from constant anxiety and OCD ever since primary school. My mental illness has been a barrier for me my entire life, but was the catalyst to launch into an incredibly high risk of quitting the 9-5 and starting a business.

Over the past 25 years of knowing my mental state, and struggling being attentive in a normal full time position whether that be university or working for a mainstream organisation, I have only recently figured out a potential avenue for release. Launching into more risk helps me find a new mental threshold. Making me more resilient, adding to my mental armoury. Hence Inti as one of those thresholds.

It is dangerous territory, as you have to think about how it affects your loved ones around you, as they are often a victim of my anxiety and OCD but also an important factor to my wellbeing and work life balance.

People see you as the face, as the business owner, as the consultant, as the employee, as the friend. But no one sees the mental pressure that constantly turns inside your head 24hrs a day. It’s debilitating, but I have found a way to channel this and make it an asset to drive a successful business.

I have a passion, and now have found the platform to exercise that passion and help people, organisations and the world on a small and mega scale. And it’s incredible!

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.