Where are you from?
Originally from Inverell but I currently live in Brisbane, Australia.
What’s your background?
I was born in Inverell and I was there until I was 18. I went to Inverell public school where I was school captain, probably because I was the only kid who could spell his name (joking). Then went to high school at MacIntyre high school and was school captain there as well.
I was very much into basketball so I traveled a lot representing NSW country for basketball and was always quite ambitious and did well in school. I wanted to be an entrepreneur since 13 when my dad told me a story about a local gentleman who bought a pie shop for a little bit of money, did it all up and sold it for more and I thought “what kind of superhero does that?” He said: “that’s an entrepreneur son.”
And I thought “Fuck, I’ll do that!” and I didn’t realise I was setting myself up for a lifetime of awesomeness and terribleness and everything in between.
I had a year off between high school and university where I had a couple of little businesses of my own, and worked in a local retail store. Then, I went to university and studied business management and started my career from there.
Describe your life right now
I would describe my life right now as complex. It is a positive life, a happy life, but a complex life and this where I’m starting to feel a real tension between the part of me that’s aspirational and wants to achieve something vs the part of me that wants to be fulfilled and, in particular, prioritise starting and having a family.
The part of me I’ve always really listened to and been driven by is the achievement part of me which has typically been focused on what I can give to the world, but on the flipside it’s always been powered by my fear of not being enough, not being able to belong and wanting to be in control of that.
So being able to achieve to show that I’m worthy of people’s love and affection and being able to recognise that means, at times, I realise that I push myself in unhealthy ways.
Part of that is I’ve always looked at financial resourcefulness as being an indicator of success and I’m starting to reverse-engineer that back into realising that, in terms of being fulfilled, what I actually care about is spending more time with good people. In particular, spending more time with my family, which I’ve probably taken for granted up to this point because they’ve always been there.
So, I’m starting to realise now that it’s probably much more fulfilling to have a more simple life that isn’t just a basic algorithm of how much money or net worth I have but very much around how many people know I care about them and how many people I know care about me.
What’s important to you and your life?
There are several ways I could probably answer this. To prioritise my time and my effort, energy and attention to making sure that my immediate family knows I care for and love them, that they know I have time and space for them and prioritise their love language so that they know that I’m there.
Second is to find meaningful work that I can do for a long period of time, that feels like it’s of service but at the same time doesn’t cost me all my energy.
There’s been work I’ve found fulfilling but it’s had a big cost. I’m technically an introvert that acts like an extrovert sometimes. Oftentimes, like at Fishburners, it used to take all my energy to do my job so my family got a less better version of me.
Lastly, being able to be proud of not what I’ve achieved but who I’ve become is important to me.
I’ve realised that I have enough power in myself to love myself and to care about myself and don’t have to feel I need to achieve things to prove I’m enough.
What specific experiences, people or events have shaped your view?
My wife, in particular, because she is very much driven by family. And so we’ve had a number of discussions where she has shown me where my focus on my work has at times come at the detriment to my close relationships.
As well, we’re looking to start a family now and I’m mindful of the fact that it’s already a big cost of time, running startups and businesses. Doing that at the same time as starting a family would be difficult. And then deciding which is more important right now — to start a business again and get that up and running or start a family — for us right now the family is a bigger priority. Realising that that’s actually a thing has probably shifted who I thought I was as a person a little bit, as an identity.
Marc is Director of Startups at BDO Australia.