CHAPTER 8Defend the sacred

Conferences and seminars are a big part of my world. Sitting in them, speaking at them, organising them (not to mention judging the quality of their morning teas; seriously — don't be scrimping on those scones, people). The insights and the learnings from these events can shift your thinking and have a significant impact on what you do when you get back to so-called life as usual. The importance of defending what's sacred and making time for what matters was a lesson that hit me as I was sitting in the audience of a seminar a number of years ago.

The speaker was a highly sought-after social sciences researcher. The truth is I can't recall his name, or even the research he was sharing; what I do recall was his personal commitment to his health, even in a busy position. He shared with us that his personal non-negotiable was to do 30 minutes of exercise every single day. While this might not sound like much, with global travel and hours of back-to-back meetings, this non-negotiable was challenged daily. He shared how he cut short a significant meeting with the CEO, CFO and executives of a big organisation because he had to do his half hour of exercise. They tried to dismiss this but he didn't back down. His commitment to protect the sacred ground of what mattered to him, his health, so that his contribution could continue to be world-class struck me. When you get clear on what matters, you've got to work hard to protect it.

At times your values will ...

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