Award-winning broker Mardee Blackwood shares her tips for balancing deadlines and downtime
Q: What do you wish you’d known when you started out as a broker?
A: Work-life balance is important. Having a good work-life balance has been my biggest challenge, particularly as a working mum. Like most mortgage brokers I could spend days and hours doing this job, but it’s recognising when to call it a day that can sometimes be the difficult part. It’s important to spend quality time with your family and not get consumed by the workload. Learn to recognise the difference between deadlines and downtime, as well as the ability to delegate; try to back away from having total control all the time – although I know that’s easier said than done.
Q: What are your top survival tips for working in finance?
A: I always advise others to never promise what they can’t deliver; to learn to say no and ask for help when necessary. On a more personal level, sleep is key for having mental clarity and focus, as well as taking regular alone time to exercise and practise mindfulness, meditation and breathing techniques. I also find it incredibly helpful to talk to someone about my stresses on a regular basis, and whenever work stress gets the better of me, I remind myself of what’s truly important in life. Always live in the present; don’t agonise over the past and don’t fret about the future. Lastly, persistence truly is a virtue! Be consistent with your efforts, persevere, and your hard work will pay off.
Q: What's one thing, personal or professional, that you hope to achieve before the end of the year?
A: To stop comparing myself to others. I think we are all so hard on ourselves these days. One of the most detrimental things we can ever do to jeopardise our chances for success is to compare ourselves to others. To accomplish our goals and dreams, we need to take our eyes and focus off others, direct our attention towards our pursuits, and embrace the fact that we are all on separate journeys – leading to different, individual destinations.
Q: If you won $1m, what would you do with it?
A: Everything I do is normally quite sensible. So I would love to do something outrageous – perhaps buy a bigger boat, have a holiday in Hawaii, and just travel, travel, travel!