Mark McKeon is a well-known Keynote Speaker and author of 4 books: Every Day Counts, Work a Little Less, Live a Little More, Mark Mckeon’s Life Tips, and Get in the Go Zone. He is an expert on leadership, efficiency, productivity, and resilience. Mark is one of Australia’s leading work-life balance and team cohesion advocates.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

Suburban Melbourne, Australia, happy and stable family life, great loving and supporting parents. In an era when a lot of parents were too busy for the kids’ activities, my dad would drive his van around the local area picking up half the team before games. Taught me that life will always tempt you with ‘better offers’ but time spent with your kids is never wasted and that family comes first.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

The power of developing assets that create passive income to support the life you want to live. When you can make money without being in the room, you unlock endless choices. This can seem too big a mountain to climb when you are young but it’s amazing how quickly it gathers momentum like rolling a rock down a hill. Starts hard, gets easier, and then does it by itself.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Wait until you get another qualification, stay safe, be conservative. People use these excuses when they aren’t totally certain that their next career or life move will be successful…but if there were guarantees of success, everyone else would have already done it! Start with your best idea!

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?

When I was developing my business I was running a number of Corporate Health/Fitness Facilities, editing a Mens Health Magazine, heading the Conditioning Program for a professional AFL Club, and running 6 am boot camps 5 days each week. It was way too much and I was always compromising and trading off. I had to cut commitments and people from my team and schedule in order to improve the quality of my services. It’s harsh but I learned that you have to cut people who are not adding value to your life…and do it fast.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Being real.

When I trained athletes and asked them for a maximum effort, I would try to make a maximum effort myself.

When I speak to a corporate audience I try my best to make the presentation about how I can help them, rather than “will I make myself look good here, or will I get a good rating”.

When I write a book or article I am always trying to imagine reading my words for the first time to make sure they resonate and are relevant.

I think when your prime goal is to serve your customer/client/team member to the best of your ability (even if it’s a tough message), you help people achieve great things…and you win respect and loyalty from them.

What is your morning routine?

I am lucky to live near the ocean, so I am up with the sun and at the Beach. If the waves are good I surf, otherwise, I stretch/breath/run or meditate on the beach and then swim/dip..even in winter. I finish with setting my intention for the day…and a hot morning coffee!

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Stretching. I have played a lot of competitive, contact sport and my body has done a lot of training for over 50 years…and I’m not naturally flexible, but I have better mobility and range than I did 5 years ago. It’s also a great way to get a better rhythm in your breathing and start the day well or destress after work. Stretching is so underrated and is a basic human need like warmth, food, and sleep.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

My signature corporate program and internationally published book are called ‘Get in the Go Zone’. Go Zones are pre-planned 2 hour periods of absolute focus on the most important tasks you face that day, without excuse or distraction. Slow Zones are still for work but with less intensity and less structure and No Zones are play-based guilt-free pre-scheduled recovery periods. I preplan and color code my Go Zones and No Zones in my calendar to ensure I get the important things done and balance that with quality recovery.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Call of the Wild by Jack London (Resilience and Perseverance)
The Empty Raincoat by Charles Handy (Breaking through self-imposed limitations)
Pappilon by Henri Charrière (Life adventures)
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason (Power of saving)

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“Live the Life you Love”
“Family comes first”
“Everything you need you already have”
“Focus on their pain”..when you have an opponent.
“Too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear”..from the Optimist Creed