Love what you do to avoid work stress says David Koch

Small business owner, breakfast show host, media personality and chairman of Port Adelaide AFL club – David Koch wears a lot of hats, many of them in the public eye. Often clocking up a twelve-hour day, you’d expect this small business high-flyer to be a bundle of stress, yet Koch seems to thrive on keeping all his balls in the air.

“Frankly I don’t see myself as any busier than most Australians who juggle work, family and community work,” Koch tells KBB. “The biggest difference I suppose is that what I do is a lot more public and transparent than most.

“As a result, people seem to be intrigued how I juggle co-hosting Sunrise, running my family business Pinstripe Media, being chairman of Port Adelaide AFL club, family commitments, community work… And cope with the organisation and “stress” of it all.”

Not that he’s complaining… Koch suggests stress is just a part of daily life and explains that everyone copes with it differently.

“But I suppose I have adopted some strict philosophies on how to get it all done which work for me,” he acknowledges.

Koch admits he is fortunate in that he really loves what he does every day. There’s no Monday-iti-is for this 61-year-old.

None of what I do seems like work. I’m lucky I enjoy everything I do, and that makes a huge difference.

“My father had a great saying; ‘have enough confidence in yourself to give anything a go but if it doesn’t work out have enough confidence in yourself to do something else’. In other words, don’t be afraid to take up an opportunity but never get stuck in something you don’t like because you’re too afraid to change.

“I’ve always lived my life to that motto. Focus on what you love doing and success will, hopefully, follow. Either way you’ll enjoy life,” he states.

Nonetheless, Koch tells KBB he does have a few tips and tricks to ensure he remains healthy and motivated.  Just over a decade ago, he started a fitness regime in preparation for a trek to Mt Kilimanjaro. It’s something he continues to this day.

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro had been a life goal of mine,” he explains.

The then 49-year-old admits he had originally thought personal trainers were for “wankers” but changed his tune when it came time to prep for the trip.

“I teamed up with one to prepare for Kili and couldn’t believe the impact it had on my quality of life and ability to cope with the shift work involved with Sunrise,” he says.

“I made it to the top of Kili (and have done it a second time) and 12 years on I’m still seeing the same trainer every Tuesday and Thursday. It’s a permanent appointment in my diary and everyone knows not to book anything into that time. It’s a bit of “me” time… and Todd trains me as a 61-year-old. It’s all about resistance training, posture, cardio and core.”

Koch has climbed Kilimanjaro twice, conquering the world’s highest freestanding mountain.

An extremely practical person, who thrives on routine, Koch admits he is a stickler for process.

Process is my friend. I run a very strict diary, I hate being late (I even get annoyed when others are), I love to do lists, every day has a plan.”

Whilst this may imply rigidity, Koch says he doesn’t mind if a plan gets changed- he justtakes comfort from a well-planned day.

“I try to build process and routine into my personal life so as not to overthink simple decisions. I have a wake-up routine, I have sleep routine, I put my clothes out the night before, so I don’t need to think about what to wear in the morning, I eat the same breakfast.

“I have this weird view that you can think through only so much during the day so make the simple things easy.”

With such a busy schedule, prioritising the important things in life is essential for Koch

“I try and compartmentalise my life. Work is work, family time is for family, me time is for me. I try and prioritise everything that’s important to me in my life and make sure I do it to the best of my ability. Again, I’m not perfect at this but I give it my best shot.

“It means saying “no” a lot if it doesn’t fit into a compartment time,” he acknowledges.

David and wife of 39-years, Libby Koch celebrate a rare night out on the town

Koch says surrounding himself with positive people is another essential.

I’ve always been a glass-half-full type of person rather than a glass-half-empty. I try and look for the positives in everything… whether it’s people, business, news, the economy…

“I try and avoid whingers and negative people. I find they sap my energy and enthusiasm to get things done.”

At the heart of it all, though, Koch suggests he is a family man. Everything he does in life is motivated from this essential trait.

For me they provide a foundation for my entire life. They are large in number, loud, funny, opinionated and keep me absolutely grounded. And, of course, Libby is at the Centre of that.

Married to his wife, Libby for the past 39 years, Koch describes her as his rock, sounding board and the “critical part of what makes him tick”

And whilst family is front and centre in every decision he makes, Koch tells us he is also a great believer in investing in yourself.

“I’m a great believer in investing in yourself to help gets things achieved… and I’m not afraid to spend on that.

“Since taking on the Port Adelaide role, and the travel associated with it, Libby and I rent an apartment in the city close to Sunrise and the business, so it makes it easier to juggle life and the timetable. During footy season I will sometimes go seven weeks without getting back to our home.”

As if Koch’s schedule isn’t busy enough, he also dedicates his time to a number of causes, from his beloved Port Adelaide to assisting youth off the street with his Koch Centre for Youth.

it reinforces that sense of community which I think is essential for leading a happy, productive life,” he explains. “You’re only here for a short time, so make it count.”

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Cec is the managing editor of KBB. She is a multimedia professional with over fifteen years experience as an editor on titles as diverse as SX, CULT, Better Pictures, Total Rock, MTV, fasterlouder, mynikonlife and Fantastic Living. She has spent the past four years working as a news journalist covering all the issues that matter in the political, health and LGBTIQ arena. She is the Head of Content at Pinstripe Media and a recent convert to the world of small business.

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