From Co-workers to Collaborators: The Journey To Create ‘The Art of Full Time Living’
Whilst March 8th brings many a tokenistic corporate LinkedIn post (and maybe even a cupcake), the call to action for International Women’s Day is simple: elevate women and accelerate gender parity. However, these issues require more than one day’s cursory discussion, especially when elevating Australian women has taken on a different meaning in 2023.
A new energy is rising.
More empowered, women are doing more than ever, but whilst the likes of Emmeline Pankhurst would be thrilled at the progress we’ve made and the extra titles added to our proverbial resumes, women of today are busier than ever. This brings another question to the fore- how do we find balance?
With wellness and awareness of mental health having blossomed in the last few years, now is the perfect time to discuss this critical piece to the busy woman’s puzzle, and author Natalie Yan-Chatonsky has done just that in her new book: The Art of Full Time Living- Designing a Meaningful and Connected Life, the product of collaboration between three women who epitomise the concept.
Through her business Full Time Lives, midlife specialist Natalie has long been guiding women through this complex period, helping them find balance and meaning in a time where transition is essential.
“Full Time Lives was the antidote to full time work. We are so wrapped up in our full-time, paid work that by the time people get to retirement age, if they’ve focused solely on their careers there’s a bit of a precipice that they come to in terms of not really knowing themselves very well. It’s about engaging with community and creating strong, supportive relationships with the people around you.
“Full time living means something different to everyone, and it is an art, hence the title. Like any art form, it’s going to be unique, and you have to practise. You don’t always get it right, and you’ll need to experiment a bit, but I feel like that phrase, the art of full time living, really captures what we all need to start doing at any age.”
Converting her experience and research into an inspiring and uplifting resource for women felt like a natural next step. Plus, how much easier would life be if we had an instruction manual?
“I’ve done a lot of research around the world around healthy ageing and longevity. Through this research, interviews and discussions I just kept on hearing the regrets of people, but there were no solid resources, or books that I could recommend that were really engaging. It was always in the back of my mind that having a beautiful book packed with insights, tips, and stories from inspiring women who were doing things differently for this modern age, where we’re living longer, that was something that I wanted to be able to put in people’s hands, but not just the words, also the visuals and the interactivity of the book.”
“I thought- if only I could find someone who could write it, because I never saw myself as an author.”
It took one serendipitous conversation with Club Manager Ken Andrews at Work Club Supreme Court for Natalie to start to shift that mindset, with Ken introducing her to fellow Work Club member Jaqui Lane, (The Book Adviser), who is also based at Supreme Court.
“I didn’t feel ready to talk to Jaqui, I thought “oh gosh, there’s this superstar Work Club member, as if she’d have time for me”, but Ken pushed me saying it’s just a chat!”
Superstar is an apt word to describe Jaqui, with 28 books authored and 450 books published she has well and truly earned her title.
“I’m passionate about changing the world for the better one book at a time,” says Jaqui.
Natalie’s unique approach stood out to Jaqui, compelling her to take on the project, “I knew there was a gap in this marketplace and that discussions have been around this topic for a while, but nobody’s really encapsulated it with an approach and angle that is both holistic and practical”.
“Natalie’s thorough research underpinning the concepts in the book really appealed to me. I work with people who practise what they preach, know what they’re talking about and have got genuine experience and knowledge to share. Nat’s got truckloads of that!”
The third key ingredient to bringing the book to life was Kristine Lindbjerg, a talented Danish born graphic designer, also based at Supreme Court. This time, it was another Work Club member who provided the impetus for this collaboration by introducing Nat to Kristine.
Kristine brings Natalie’s words to life with her incredible designs and graphics. As a mother, wife and modern-day woman with a strong career focus the project resonated with her in more ways than one.
“I really loved reading the book, I found it incredibly inspiring in many ways. I felt I knew the end reader very well, because I’m her.
“It’s always been so important for me to work and have my own work identity plus be an involved mum at the same time. I felt it was wrong to squeeze in time for myself, so time for myself became working. I think a lot of women have this experience which is why I felt it was really important for the graphics to make the book feel like a helping hand.”
With 30 years of publishing experience, Kristine knew what the book needed to stand out, pulling inspiration from nature and her Scandinavian heritage the book features beautiful line art, accentuated by bold colours.
The product? A completed book that is as much a piece of art as it is a manual, with Natalie’s experience and research, buoyed by an impactful aesthetic, considered structure and marketability, making it a must have for the modern woman, at any life stage.
The finished product of Natalie, Jaqui and Kristine’s work was celebrated at a recent book launch, hosted at Work Club’s scenic 200 George St Club. The evening celebrated the project, the connections it inspired as well as the collaborative spirit of Work Club.
“This project is so powerful because of Work Club, I mean, how amazing is it that we all shared the same workspace, but we don’t work for the same company? These talented women were right under my nose!” Natalie laughs. “It’s so important to surround yourself with refreshing, energising people. You grow into your future self with those amazing people.”
“I think this is the future of work. Having the flexibility to weave in and out of beautiful spaces, collaborate with a diverse range of different professions and skills- there’s a ripple effect.”
This is one of many stories where members have come together to create, build and improve, and whilst we thought it apt to share this story today, International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognise that this story is about so much more than the incredible women at its centre.
It’s about the power of facilitating conversations and introductions.
It’s about the Work Club values of supporting talented entrepreneurs in every industry, every day but mostly, it’s about innumerable benefits of diversity in any space, year-round.
You can purchase a copy of The Art of Full Time Living here.
Find out more about Work Club workspaces here.