Clinton Parr is the founder of A Lion & The Vibes, a company helping companies create a work environment and experience that employees love.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I started my career in hospitality with a dream of one day becoming like Bryan Flanagan (Tom Cruise) in Cocktail. Like Flanagan, I was also studying Business (HR) at University by day and working nights and weekends and quickly grew tired of being on the wrong side of the bar.
I found a role selling websites to small businesses in Newcastle in the early 2000’s, where I spent most of my time answering the question “What is the internet?” So I decided to move to the big smoke.
I landed a job in recruitment, which, at the time I thought was going to be an external HR Consultant. I quickly found out that it was not. Thankfully I worked at it long enough to build some great client relationships and was offered a role as Talent Manager at a large advertising agency.
I spent about 6 years working as Head of People & Culture with a couple of great advertising agencies, until I was one day made redundant (the best thing that ever happened to me).
I turned down a couple of offers for Head of People & Culture roles with other agencies and instead decided to start my own business, A Lion & The Vibes, where I could work with small companies that didn’t need (or can’t afford) a Head of People & Culture full time.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
I have a few different types of days, so I’ll split this into “Client Days” and “A Lion Days”.
Client Days: I live on the Central Coast, so I wake at about 5:45, have a cold shower and ride my bike to the train station. On the train I meditate, read my Bible, then spend the rest of the trip reading other books (currently reading The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle highly recommended).
I have a few clients that I work with on an ongoing basis, so will be generally assisting them with rolling out strategic HR programs and managing day-to-day HR challenges, which involves lots of meetings. On other “Client Days” I might be running training sessions or workshops.
Then I catch the train home, listen to music, and make sure I’m home to hang out with my daughter before bedtime.
Home Days: Wake up, cold shower, meditate and take my daughter to school. I am lucky enough to have an office set up at home, so I get down to work. At the moment that means following up on client calls and creating an online HR program called HRforHumans.
I do this until it’s time to pick up Princess StormCloud (my daughter) from school. Then it’s Dad time.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Absolutely! I started my own business around the time that my wife wanted to return to work after maternity leave. Being a dad is my favourite thing, so I created a business that would give me the freedom and ability to choose how and where I spend my time.
I am lucky to have a very organised wife, so she lets me know when the big events are happening and I put them into my calendar first. I have other things that I want to do (school drop offs and pick ups, taking Princess StormCloud to karate lessons, etc.), which happen every week. I plan my work around those things.
I limit myself to three (ideally two) “Client Days” per week, which allows me to focus on building my company and gives me the time and energy to spend on family.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
To me, work-life balance is making sure that I’ve got the energy to spend on all aspects of my life (work, family, social, health, spiritual and personal growth).
If I’m finding that either of these things is not getting the energy it requires, then I assess to see where the time is being spent and then make a conscious decision about what to do with that.
The reality is that there are different seasons in life where I am not spending enough time and energy in each area. But being consciously aware that things are out of balance and making a decision to either change something or push through for a while greatly reduces the stress.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
- Started meditation – it’s amazing!
- Started using a planning system (based on RPM by Tony Robbins) to help me organise my life and recognise when things are out of balance.
- Got a coach – part business coach and part personal coach.
I don’t know that I’ve consciously stopped anything. But now that you mention it, I should look at that.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
- The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups – Daniel Coyle
- This is Marketing – Seth Godin
- The 4-Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss
- Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell – Alan Eagle, Eric Schmidt, and Jonathan Rosenberg
- Impact Theory – Tom Bilyeu
- Early Morning Radio – Craig Ballantyne
- Noah Kagan Presents – Noah Kagan
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My favourite apps are: FitMind (a really cool meditation training program), Spotify and Trello.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Probably Richard Branson. That guy seems to have it together.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
My dad used to say “find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” we’ve probably all heard this before. But I think you can flip that and just love what you do. You always have a choice. And you always make that choice.
Choose to love it. Choose to focus on the stuff that brings you joy. When someone asks you how work is going, don’t flippantly say “so busy” (that’s a boring response), instead, energetically say “I love it!” then find something great to back that up. The person you’re responding to will be shocked but you may also start to believe it yourself.
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