It’s Not All High Performance. Sometimes It’s The Exact Opposite.


I’ve never been great at mindfulness or meditating, and yoga well let’s just say I’m the person at the back of the room looking decidedly like a downward dog but with far less grace.  Namaste indeed! 

Part of the issue is having a way too busy brain which is always making lists, analysing what has gone on that day, what could have been done better, following up on the actions from last week, scooting ahead as I calculate what needs to be done for my clients (there are apparently 80 odd working days left this year everyone…!) and and and…you get the picture.

However earlier this year I discovered Calm, Apple’s app of the year in 2017. After listening to ten minutes of the lovely Tamara Levitt, I find myself much more able to focus on the present.  NB I have a total #girlcrush on Tamara’s soothing voice…

More and more leaders around the world, including Ray Dallio and Jeff Weiner, are opening up as to their need to spend dedicated time on mindfulness.  One of our homegrown leaders who swears by it is Aaron Fitzgerald, the Chief Operating Officer of Grill’d Australia (Australia’s largest privately owned restaurant group) and the Chief Executive Officer of Grill’d International. This is one busy man! 

Aaron and I met earlier this year and he is an absolute delight. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing him for my new podcast Frank & Fearless.  We spoke about his career, spanning twenty plus years, growing some of Australia’s most iconic brands to the powerhouses they are today.  We talked about building capability in teams, the ‘culture’ keepers in businesses who enable the growth, through both supporting and challenging the leadership to achieve greater outcomes. 

When I asked Aaron how he manages it all he talked about not only his physical health but his general wellbeing.  Ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the afternoon or evening before heading home he takes the time to practice his mindfulness.  It enables him to prepare for the day ahead and decompress before he walks through the door to his family on the evening.  Being present is paramount to him and it shows in his work ethic, commitment to achieve amazing results and to be an all round top bloke! 

“Meditating in short sessions can help you focus on your work better throughout the day, reducing your chances of getting distracted, and sharpening your cognitive potential.”

I so enjoyed interviewing Aaron, and learning a completely new skill set in the podcasting studio at the Hub.  I have some wonderful interviews coming up many of those from ‘my collection’!

So, be sure to stay tuned for further updates about the release date of my podcast by subscribing to my website. As a lovely little added incentive (because I’m feeling super generous!), I’m giving away a free copy of Heidi Gardner’s knock-out book, Smart Collaborations, to the first 25 subscribers. First in, best dressed!

Ceinwen McNeil is the founder and managing director of First Follower, an international strategy consulting firm which designs and executes growth strategies for professional services. Drawing on over twenty years of business development and client management experience in both the public and private sectors, she founded First Follower to enable businesses to successfully navigate step growth change. Ceinwen’s direct approach, commercial acumen and exemplary stakeholder engagement skills make her a highly sought-after adviser. Visit for more information.

Ceinwen McNeil