"You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who have fought for it, life has a flavour the protected shall never know" - Guy de Maupassant
Sometimes in life, on the rare occasion we look up from our phones, try something new or speak to new people, we can connect with inspiring and ambitious human beings. A lot of us are so busy in our day to day lives, we don’t stop to realise what we are missing out on and what is affecting us.
One of the hardest things we must do is face the things we do not like about ourselves or come to terms with opportunities missed. Often this can lead us to not believing in ourselves and accept a future that is less than we deserve.
Having a sense of self love and focusing on who we are and what we want to achieve is so important, and often it is laughed at and brushed aside. We as humans need certain elements in our life for us be fulfilled, happy and generally alive. I am not talking about air and food, those are given necessities, I am talking about challenge, love, risk, safety and others we do not pay attention to.
I know a few of you will probably roll your eyes at such statements and say that it is not possible to fit this into your life. But, are you then saying you are not worth the time to make your life better and care for yourself? At the end of the day everything you do, say and decisions you make start with you – no one else.
Craig Goldblatt is a speaker, philanthropist and coach who has over 15 years of experience speaking at over 600 keynote presentations around the world. He challenges and inspires audiences to be their very best and to understand that who they are is enough. Working on his own projects to help as many people as he can from all different walks of life and circumstances, such as setting up in 2010 an organisation called ‘Giving Africa’. Listening to him speak is shocking, thoughtful and inspiring in all the best possible ways. He has a passion for life itself that is so infectious, it is hard to not leave one of his coaching days feeling like anything is possible. We are often told looking after yourself is selfish - it is refreshing to have someone reassure you that that is how it should be. If you do not care for yourself, you cannot help others.
If you could describe in one sentence what it is you aim to achieve in your work, what would you say?
To help people to love themselves and know that they are enough.
What are the main obstacles you find professionals are struggling with daily?
The environment around us is not conducive to us understanding our own selves. The landscape is becoming so confusing, so many choices and so many judgements that it is very hard for us to understand our own identity. It is a sensory overload, we are exceeding in it daily and this doesn’t help us to stay grounded and to be confident in who we are. Daily stresses in our lives get in the way and are so confusing. If you take a community in the Amazon forest, they do not have that confusion, as the outside world influences are not getting in the way.
Is there any correlation between a certain profession and those who find it difficult to handle a work life balance?
The hardest place to achieve balance is in a city, especially in financial corporate institutions. This is so challenging purely because it is not in nature. We are humans are built to be in nature and are a part of nature. The further you step away the harder it is to connect and breath. Highly pressurised unnatural environments make it hard to find ourselves.
Do you practice and abide in your own time what you teach to other people?
Yes, for the most part. Not everyone is perfect by any stretch and I won’t pretend I always do as I say to others. But for the most part I practice what I preach, because I see the benefits.
If you could leave behind one piece of advice, to help those around you what would it be?
Be gentle on yourself.
Was there a moment in your life that defined your approach and finding who you are?
Several of them in fact, one moment in the amazon environment was a huge mark for me. A kapok tree stood in front of us, it is one of the largest in the amazon and believed to be so spiritual. I pushed myself to meditate in front of it and connect. In that moment of clarity, I was able to see more clearly what I wanted to do. Another was when I worked in the corporate world, I was in a meeting and when I walked out, I knew I did not belong there.
What are the main things a professional need to be happy in their day to day life? Are there certain things that can be focused on to bring a good balance?
Start the day with meditation is something I could not talk more about. Decide on an intention for the day also, whether it be smiling at a stranger or trying something new or achieving something that means a lot to you. Do it while you are on the train and have some time to yourself. Importantly, move your body throughout the day. Slumped over your desk all day sets the intention that you are not going to try or achieve anything. Move and exercise throughout the day. As often as you can be in nature, go for a walk, go to a park on your lunch break or decide on the weekends to find somewhere outside.
What are you working on now? What are your goals and intentions?
My projects and intentions are working around eradicating deforestation. I have the pleasure of working and coordinating with other professionals and organisations who are aiming to take desert areas and utilise mineral resources to make the soil good again. They build organic soil chemicals in a lab environment and combine it with solar technology and water filtration to make the soil ready for growth. It can lead to communities creating homes and working of the land.
We at cranberry panda have had the pleasure of multiple coaching days with Craig. Now I know a lot of you hear work events and immediately cringe. Those events to a lot of you, and especially me in the past meant a day of the top sellers or achievers being praised and numbers thrown at you from management (oh, and don’t forget the CEO pretending to know who you all are). The typical ‘work day out team building’ that puts fear into any working professional. But, these days with Craig have been focused around us as individuals, pushing ourselves and finding ways to be the best we can at work and home. I never truly realised the importance of being happy at work and the positive affect it can have on you being supported by management who care for you as a person not an employee.