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 ...

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