Gillian Pereira is the Lead Researcher at The Business Pickle, where they study how to use business as a force for good
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Sydney, Australia. Music was a big part of my childhood as I played the piano and cello. For me, learning an instrument taught me much more than how to play a piece of music; the real gift was to learn consistency and persistence: the performances might be memorable, but the uncelebrated daily practice is where real formation happens. I’m thankful for my education which helped me to love learning and value curiosity, and I think that has continued well into adulthood.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Life is generally less linear than you think it will be. While big goals and destinations are exciting and good to aim for, learn to enjoy the process… because all of us are in process, pretty well all of the time!
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
At The Business Pickle, we do research and advise businesses on how to take steps to improve their impacts on people and the planet. Perhaps not so much a recommendation as a negative perception we come across where leaders believe they need to get it all “right” before they begin to share about the steps they’ve taken to become more sustainable in their business. We think the way forward is “progress over perfection”: sharing the small wins, the incremental steps, and honestly acknowledging where the gaps are. That way, other leaders, businesses, and customers can be better informed and be inspired to take their next step too.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
For parts of my twenties, I felt overwhelmed by my own internal questions of what I “should” be doing in my work. Over the years, I’ve realised that for those of us who don’t feel a clear sense of vocation in one very specific direction (I’d say it’s the majority!), it’s a continual, sometimes meandering process to uncover where skills and passion intersect.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
While success looks different for everyone, major elements for me are maintaining deep, consistent, quality relationships in my personal and professional life, and doing work that I find meaningful and helpful to others. In my work at The Business Pickle, every time we can help a leader or business to take the next step in using business as a force for good, that’s a win in our book!
What is your morning routine?
Ideally, my morning routine starts with a good night’s sleep. If I’m going into our cowork space, I usually get up at about 7 am for what I think is a pretty standard morning routine: shower, get dressed, and have coffee and breakfast. I pack my bag and catch a bus into the city (featuring Wordle en route). A quick check of Slack/emails and my schedule for the day, and so it begins.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Big picture: not turning down opportunities because of fear, and being willing to learn by doing. Smaller picture: charging my phone outside of my room.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
A helpful mindset shift for me has been to reframe “time management” as “energy management”. I find that mid-morning and late afternoon are my best times to do focused, deep work, and I do what I can to plan my schedule in line with that. When I’m resting, finding things that will truly refresh me, like taking a walk. As a team, each morning we do a virtual standup on Slack, where we note down our top 3 priorities for the day. I find it’s a simple, helpful way to check in and clarify my focus.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
That’s a hard question to answer, as many books have influenced me so it’s difficult to choose one or even a few that top the list. That said, I would recommend The Element (by Sir Ken Robinson), on how finding your passion changes everything.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“What would you be glad you did – even if you failed?” – Brene Brown