Balancing the Grind with Sharrman Maran, Training Manager at Breathe Education

Sharrman Maran is the Training Manager at Breathe Education, Australia’s fastest growing online Pilates education provider.

Looking for your dream role at a start-up or scale-up? Check out global career opportunities at The Nudge Group.

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

As a personal trainer turned Pilates teacher, I have spent my career connecting and moving with a range of wonderful clients. Having taught in settings that range from boutique studios to clinical practice, corporate wellness to online events, I’ve been fortunate enough to teach thousands of people from around the world.

Currently, I am the Training Manager of Breathe Education, Australia’s fastest growing online Pilates education provider. I get the privilege of leading our team of Trainers in curating a learning experience that educates, develops and empowers the next generation of Pilates teachers. 

Ultimately, we aim to set our students up for success by teaching them how to access professionally and financially rewarding careers upon graduating.

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

My days start around 6.30AM by getting a pour over coffee ready to share with my housemates. We talk about our plans for the day ahead before I jump into some movement.

Some days it’s a mat Pilates session in the living room, or I head down to The Ox Box, my local CrossFit gym, to get a sweat on. Following a quick breakfast and my ever important skincare routine, I get stuck into work. 

A day in my life looks like a wonderful mix of running live lectures and tutorials for our students, meeting with our team to further develop our educational experience, and collaborating with Pilates professionals around the world as we continue to expand our community. Right now that means calls with the US at some very odd hours!

I turn off my work notifications at 5PM and give myself some space to breathe. I’ll opt to get outside or cook something delicious for dinner. I am also studying Psychological Science at university so my evening readings are generally more geared towards behavioural research than leisurely fiction. 

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

Breathe Education operates 100% live and online. This means our team has the capacity to not only to work from literally anywhere, we also have the privilege of teaching people from all corners of the globe. Right now we have students joining us from Australia, America, Canada, England, The Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and the list continues to grow.

I feel so privileged to have flexible working hours and to be able take my work with me wherever I go. Besides the prospect of being able to bring my meetings to the beach if I wanted to, a culture of working remotely has allowed me to keep my schedule fluid to prioritise my self care. This means that I can show up every day as a more present leader, friend and family member. 

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

Something that I talk to people about probably just as much as the topic of Pilates, is how to live a life that you love. I believe that joyful living is a nexus between play and purpose that allows you to spend your time in a way that is meaningful to you.

I personally prescribe to asking myself three key questions everyday to achieve this: 

What is bringing me joy in my life?

What is taking away from the joy in my life?

What is in my control to change so that I can pursue joy today?

What is important to note here is that a project at work may be an integral part of what is driving my joy that week. It could be equally true that taking clocking off early to be with friends or getting out in nature may be exactly what I need to feel refreshed and inspired. 

Instead of believing that ‘balance’ follows an arbitrary split of working 9 – 5, 5 days a week, be open to scrapping your schedule and starting again. Take time to reflect on how the things you do every day keep you able to show up in your best and brightest way. What you find may surprise you, for a variety of different reasons!

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

As simple as it sounds, making my bedroom a device-free zone has changed the game for me. Instead of endlessly scrolling through my newsfeed before bed, or heading straight to my inbox in the morning, my rituals around rest feel so much more restorative. 

Switching off every night and stepping away from the ‘busy-business’ has been a timely reminder that worrying is not work. I allow myself to fall asleep at peace, and wake up with a clear and refreshed mind so that I have the capacity to make much better decisions where they count. 

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

The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday – This book changed the trajectory of my life. My key takeaway was that the events that take place in your life are inconsequential, but how you react to these things have the power to turn every trial into triumph. 

The ‘Pilates Elephants’ Podcast – Curated by our team at Breathe Education for Pilates and movement professionals alike. 

JOY 94.9 – Radio station and podcast elevating all things LGBTIQA+ in Australia. It is a constant source of community, creativity and inspiration for me. 

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

My bullet journal – Although I am the biggest fan of digitising all of my meetings, to-dos and other daily musings, I can’t get past the power of a bullet journal.

My ‘bujo’ is my minimalist roadmap that seamlessly prioritises my most impactful actions, and effectively tracks my daily habits. Personally, If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.

Oh! And of course, a good, tinted, mineral SPF. Because the sun’s a very nice lady, but you don’t want to spend too much time with her on the daily, got it?

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

The CMO of Netflix – Bozoma Saint John. She has got to be one of the most rad bosses in the world who is out there making waves for the BIPOC community. 

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

Deconstruct the idea that the way you work and play needs to subscribe to a schedule that looks nothing like your own. Watching all the ‘billionaire morning’ videos on YouTube is great, until you realise that waking up at 4AM every day leaves you looking like a zombie by noon. 

10) What are the strategies and rituals that bring clarity to your day? What keeps you focused, and most importantly fills your day with joy? 

Lean in to creating, trialling and iterating on your attempts to find that sweet spot in your routine that satisfies the mindful pursuit of your goals.

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.