I was lucky enough to meet David, when preparing for the 2019 Digital Workplace Conferences . David was our Keynote speaker in New Zealand (and then in Australia). He stunned the audience with his hilarious and passionate encounters of his miraculous journey through cancer. My favourite quote I include in my book is:
You can’t choose your room, but you can choose your attitudeDavid Downs
It is this attitude, that stands out most about David, someone who has continued to inspire people with his story, contribute to so many initiatives and has been fundamental is raising money for research and awareness through the Malaghan Institute, for CAR-T cell therapy, a New Zealand first, and what saved David’s life. David shared his painful months as a cancer patient, with huge optimism and much humor, in blog posts to thousands of followers. These posts resulted in his recent book; A Mild Touch of the Cancer . It is well worth a read!
I was incredibly humbled when David agreed to write the foreword to my book (due out the end of August) – “Work-Life Balance My Arse!” . This is the foreword here.
Author, Businessman and Genetically Modified OrganismDavid Downs
I’m writing this at 7am, having just reviewed a document for my US colleagues, and just before I go for a walk. When I get back I’ll eat breakfast while on a Zoom call, and then head to a talk I am giving, where my 14 year old son will join me to help sell the book I wrote about my life while I was in hospital. After that I’ll head to a local hospital where I chair their charity, and then I’ll work out of a local café for a while until it’s time to head home and make dinner.
My work life is like a muesli bowl – a delicious mix of activities, intertwining work, family, health, leisure, charity, friends etc. Sometimes I ‘over index’ on one part of the mix, like where they’ve put too much dried fruit in, and not enough of the yoghurt raisin things. But then other times I just get the raisins, and I can enjoy that. (Hm, reading that back, maybe I should go and get breakfast now…). Done properly though, that muesli bowl has everything I need – just all mixed together.
The point is that for many of us, particularly in the ‘white collar’ professions, there isn’t this strict line between a thing called ‘work’ and a thing called ‘life’. We aren’t characters in a Dickensian novel, arriving at the factory at an allotted hour to work until a whistle tells us we can stop. I’m not sure when that line blurred – perhaps it was when technology allowed us to ‘work from home’ – but we are well and truly past those days of a strict separation.
So therefore, it shifts the responsibility to find the right muesli mix back onto us. That can be seen as empowering, or daunting, depending on your attitude. It gets a lot easier to achieve this when you realise that it’s not about finding a perfect balance, its about finding a mix that works for you, at that period of your life. It also helps if you have some tips, tools and techniques to help you find the muesli mix that works for you, at the moment in your life.
Debbie’s book is full of those tips, and advice on how to create the right muesli mix. She also opens her own life up for us to see, and bares her soul, giving us the gift of insight. Debbie’s experience as a ‘rushing woman’ can remind us all how the muesli isn’t great when its all just oats. But then rather than just blame the manufacturer, she works out how to create her own mix, and what the recipe is, so she can teach others.
I’d encourage you to grab a bowl.
David Downs, mildtouch.nz