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Words of wisdom from women of influence

Words of wisdom from women of influence
ABC Director of News Kate Torney, Governor-General Quentin Bryce and midwife Robin Barker.

Some of Australia's most admired women share the secrets of their success.

Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

Take care of yourself.
When a woman is fit and healthy, everything else falls into place. We are conditioned to put others first, that "burnt chop syndrome" we observed in our own mothers. It takes discipline to pay attention to our diets, to exercise, to leave time for refreshment of mind, body and spirit. And the lesson I pass on to young women I see juggling so many responsibilities, is stop! Yes, you can have it all, but not all at the same time. Set your own priorities, trust your gut and follow your heart.

Take time.
Time is the most precious gift we have to give — spending time with the people we love and care about. It must be the "best" sort of time — listening, giving our full attention. When you think of a person whom you love, who is frail or having a rough patch, stop what you're doing, call, go and see them. Don't put it off. Do it now.

Robin Barker, Midwife and baby expert

Get regular exercise.
Like most kids who are not particularly good at sport, I avoided routine physical activity for the first 40 years of my life. Then, struck by the jogging bug, I became a runner, swam regularly and discovered, to my surprise, that I was quite competent at both. The benefits for my health and wellbeing were significant: excellent sleep, weight control and a sense of achievement. I have now given up jogging and go for long walks instead. Twelve years ago, I swapped pool swimming for the ocean.

Humour is essential.
I couldn't survive without humour. The joy of collapsing into paroxysms of wild laughter with family and friends, the relief of finding humour in dark moments, the delight of shared fits of snorting laughter between two people.

Kate Torney, Director of News at the ABC

Treasure family and friends.
They are there long before and after careers and job titles. My husband and I have three children, Ruby, 13, Sadie, eight, and Jack, five, and no matter what's happening at work, when I get home, they help put things into perspective pretty quickly. My daughter's response to this article was, "Really? What exactly do you do at work?" For my family and friends, my job is a small part of who I am, and that's great. Embrace all your roles.

Several years ago, I was working with Barrie Cassidy on the ABC's Insiders and, like dozens of other journalists, we were trying to get an interview with the US Secretary of State. I was dealing with a very formal official at the State Department and I had little hope of breaking through.

Early one morning, I woke to find that my then six-year-old daughter had answered the phone and she was busily describing what she had planned for an upcoming birthday party. I assumed she was speaking to her grandmother, but she handed me the phone and I discovered that it was my contact at the State Department. He laughed and told me about his own kids and when we got back to business, it was a lot smoother. Sometimes, your worlds collide and that's fine.

Read more of this story in the November issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.

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