Heather was born in the UK and grew up in Sydney Australia. The second of 4 children to professional parents, Heather was educated on the lower north shore of Sydney at Loreto Kirribilli and graduated in the top 5 per cent of the state in 1985 before pursuing professional studies in law and economics honours at Sydney University and a master’s qualification in law at University College London. In between starting a family Heather pursued her practice in law both in Sydney, Western Australia, and the UK before being admitted to the NSW Bar in 2009. Heather combines love of family and motherhood with her practice as a barrister in Sydney specializing in a range of family law and family provision matters with a particular focus on complex parenting and financial cases. Heather recently incorporated Mediate3 Pty Ltd, a unique offering combining years of experience in litigation into a valuable alternative dispute resolution service. Heather is an exercise and sport aficionado whose particular passions are tennis and skiing. She is also particularly passionate about classical music and as an accomplished violinist whilst living in London spearheaded the inaugural Benjamin Britten International Violin Competition in 2004. Heather is married to fellow barrister and former international soccer referee Matthew Breeze. When not at work Heather and Matthew combine their love of travel, sport, and adventure with their five children.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
I’m out of bed reasonably early – normally around 6 am sometimes before that. I hit the ground running – a brisk run/walk with my kelpie x sheep dog (which is always a highlight), throw on some laundry, and run my eye over emails and the news. I’m not sitting down yet. Sitting is one of my least favorite things. The kids are all up and at it too – so there’s banter and action all around. A great start to the day. My intense focus period normally starts around 7.30 – 8 am and lasts until about 2 pm. I don’t notice the sitting part because the brain is burning calories. I tackle the intense cerebral part of my workday early – the bulk of my work requires quite intense focus, analysis, and copious amounts of reading – which I do extremely quickly. I don’t notice the time due to the intensity of the focus period. Unless I’m in court (where the above all goes out the window, I’m up at 5 am and pushing intensity all day long) I hit the gym at about 2 pm, attend conferences from about 4 to 6, break for dinner with the family and catch up until about 8 pm then devote the remainder of my night to reading and planning (sometimes work, sometimes travel). Productivity is the byproduct of my action.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Visualize (in the mind’s eye) the finished product, map out the plan to get there and then act on it all as quickly as possible. The creative process invariably molds (and enhances) the finished product.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The enhanced awareness of great philosophical teachings in the younger generation – packaged in a way which is age and learning appropriate.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
Multitasking and a deliberate avoidance of chairs.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Challenge yourself more.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?
Always speak your mind no matter the consequences.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
Know more than my opponent. There is no challenge to a thorough deep comprehensive understanding of one’s work. How is easy. Read widely and deeply and explain. Or teach. Teaching is a surefire way to ensure that your learning is comprehensive.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
A failure of self-confidence. In my younger years. I lost some time where I could have risen to the top more quickly. I did not learn, at school or at university, how to back myself. Or what it took. It takes quiet confidence in your knowledge base, in your own abilities. The lesson I learnt is that self confidence comes from work.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you are going down the path of professional work, make sure your skill set is extraordinary enough to charge top dollar, because you are likely not going to make money unless you are deploying your professional skill (i.e., actually working).
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
My productivity has exponentially risen post Covid with the advent of Teams and Zoom. I am saving 3 to 4 hours per day, every day.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?
No. I am hard to please. I crave variety and have not yet found a podcast which captures me. I adore books but few enough to re-read.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
Das Boot. It appeared to me to be a reasonably authentic exposition of the naval adventures of the Third Reich and the realities of occupied sea-facing France. I was particularly interested in the rendition of the characters.
- Action and productivity are mutually supporting.
- Exercise every day. Hard.
- There is no short cut to expertise.
- Time is money.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.