Around the time I asked Julius if he'd be interested in taking part in the project, he posted an image on instagram, accompanied with a caption about finding balance. Having known Juju for about 5 years - having watched his journey as a true visionary, an incredibly talented photographer & filmmaker, creating content with some amazing brands, while working a full time job AND absolutely training the house down - I wondered what balance actually looked like for him. Knowing Juju is an introvert, like myself, I had to ask him - how do you do it? But more importantly, I had to ask him about his mindset and the work he has done within himself to be able to get so much out of life. Because, and as you'll find out while you read this interview, above all else - all of those amazing things that Julius is, he is incredibly intelligent, self-aware & authentically honest. He imparted his wisdom that, life is not about doing more things, it is about enjoying the things you do. Something we can all benefit from!
Name: Julius Dimataga
JUJU'S STORY (IN A NUTSHELL) Hello! My name is Julius Dimataga but everyone knows me as Juju! I’m 29, from Sydney and I am a visual creative, primarily focusing on videography and photography. I also dabble in graphics and design. I love life and every little detail about it! That’s why I have struggled to find balance and is why I want to share my story about finding balance in the chaos. Apart from my fiancé Vasi, my main loves in my life are sports (boxing, golf, basketball, F1 and footy), fitness, art and ice cream! WHAT IS YOUR STORY? Where do I even begin!
In life we are constantly on the scales trying to balance out how we want to live and how society pushes us to live. For me my journey has seen me try to balance out my career, personal progression, health and relationships. To be honest I struggle with balance. I have an addictive personality. When I find something I love I will stick to it until I master it. I’ve ticked off a lot of things in my bucket list because of this. To top that off, I struggle with social anxiety which most people don’t know about me. On the surface I seem confident and extroverted but I am the opposite. I love my alone time and often find it hard to communicate with people I don’t really know!
Here’s my story….
It has taken me years to mature haha. But during the process I developed my own way of finding my purpose and to understand what life is all about. My mantra in life is simple. Do what you love and everything else will follow.
At school I did what everyone else did because I felt that was the right thing to do. I would always change what I was doing and in turn, who I was, to please others. As a naturally curious and creative person I enjoyed art and photography however I ended up following the crowd and signing up for a Commerce degree because, yep, me doing commerce makes heaps of sense! I went in with the mindset that as soon as I finished the degree I would get a great job as opposed to doing something I actually wanted to do.
After 6 months of statistics, human resources and economics I decided to call it quits and take a break from studying and get a job. My dad sorted me out with a sweet job at Sydney University working in the Faculty of Architecture at the time. I was on great coin however it wasn’t very fulfilling work. I was so confused with everything, life and what I wanted to do.
A throwback to Juju's bodybuilding days.
My main hobby at the time was bodybuilding and that took a huge chunk of my life. The hard dieting, training and anti-social behaviour because of the commitment to the lifestyle took control of my life and saw me lose myself. After 2 years I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life despite earning great money for my age and looking fantastic physically. I was depressed at the time and had actually sought out counselling in Bondi where the psychologist told me that I was suppressed by the ‘golden handcuffs’.
Golden Handcuffs definition: You’ve got a salary most people would kill for and great benefits, too. You like your colleagues and even the company culture. But you’re not satisfied with what you do every day; you’re not interested, and you’re not invested. You dream constantly of leaving your high-level job to find something more fulfilling.
My psychologist kept it simple and said this to me which I haven't forgotten. “Do more of what makes you happy”
So I took these words to heart and set out what I needed to do. This was the direction I needed. I mapped out what I wanted to do, not what I wanted to be. Just as Aristotle said, you are what you repeatedly do. I signed up to university and began my Media and Comms degree with the intention of working in media. As I got more hands on with a camera I started doing work on the side helping friends out with their businesses with content and social media. This is where I started to focus more on the video and photo production side of things. I became obsessed with it and I would find myself constantly studying film and photography.
My work over the years has seen me work with some awesome brands and the biggest names in the fitness industry and the like. I’ve met some amazing people along the way but the work has always been demanding. As many other creatives would understand, videography and photography comes with its own challenges. Everyone sees what’s on the surface. Sometimes clients see you rock up at a shoot and you do all the hard work and once you wrap up the shoot it’s all over. But not many realise the work that’s put in to prepare for a smooth running shoot and the hours, sometimes days editing projects. I won’t go into detail here but this is where as a freelance creative the balance slides away from life. I would spend my days shooting content, weekends for side work too, and doing all nighters to finish edits. Most of the time I would have to juggle between client revisions and preparing for the next shoots coming up. I was being consumed by it all.
DID YOU FEEL PRESSURE TO BE "ALWAYS BUSY" (INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL)? WHAT WAS THE DRIVE? Our world is busy and over-committed. Busy-ness is celebrated and encouraged as if it makes us more worthy and important. Like I said earlier it took me years to shift that paradigm and focus on my own lane. I felt pressure from the pace that my peers were working at, especially with the rapid growth of digital media and social media which made me focus more on what other people do as opposed to what I was doing at present. I kept telling myself that being busy was good and I prided myself on being a hard worker at the detriment of my personal life and my inner being.
I was never pressured by my parents and family on what I do and I’m very grateful for their support in that regard. Everything I’ve done and achieved, my family and friends have supported me. It’s always been a pressure that I’ve burdened myself with along with the subconscious pressure from society to Always keep up with the Jones’ I guess....
DID YOU HAVE A MOMENT WHERE A LACK OF BALANCE BEGAN TO EFFECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE? I have never really struggled with mental health issues. However, as I stated in my story earlier I struggle with social anxiety and feel as if I need to disconnect from the world every now and then. The best way for me to do so is to take my camera out and walk, play golf, and most effectively, train. I’ve always kept an active mind through an active lifestyle.
Physical training and being active is my gateway to feeling mentally sharp and clear.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks because I can’t find the time to read, so I listen to audibles when I’m driving, walking or training. I’m currently listening to The Mindful Athlete Secrets to Pure Performance by George Mumford, which I highly recommend. Mumford states that training and life intrinsically work with one another. For example, my example haha, intrinsic wholeness is the thought that you have the same mindset when training and when living life. So when you’re smashing out a session, you’re always presenting all your energy to produce a great workout. You should not be separating your true self from training and the world at large. So this is why I feel that training is so important in my life.
At the moment boxing has been a powerful channel for me. I have been boxing for a while now, since 2017 and I haven’t stopped. Again obsessed haha. It has provided me with so many tools I can carry out in my world. Especially the fighting and sparring side of it all. I find myself being so present when I am sparring and when I fight. One one side, you have the intention to strike another person, on the other side they are trying to strike you so you must think defensively and offensively. At the same time monitor your fitness so you don’t tire out mid rounds. I’ve found myself on many days turning bad days into good days because of boxing and the community that is built around it.
I also find it very hard to socialise especially when I am not in the right mindset and if my mind is occupied with other things going on in my life. I would say when I get overwhelmed with the work side of my life I lose my drive to socialise and I disconnect from my friends and family.
So I would say there wasn’t a time when the lack of balance started to affect my mental health. I’d just say I found a few different ways over time to become better with balance, fitness in particular. I’ve gotten a lot better lately because of prioritising things better. Time management is something I’ve learnt to do better as I’ve grown older and a good habit to keep.
This is Juju's post about balance I mentioned in the intro.
DID YOU EXPERIENCE A "TURNING POINT"? WHAT LED YOU TO WANT TO PRIORITISE BALANCE/WHAT WAS THE CONVERSATION YOU HAD WITH YOURSELF?
I genuinely believe in order to find balance we have to avoid the thinking that the more we do, the more commitments, more things are better. I had to make a decision on what matters the most and what takes priority of our time, energy and even money and arrange my life accordingly. This is where balance comes into play. Family and my partner will always come first. And then Maslow’s hierarchy of needs comes into the equation. Money makes the world go round so work has to sit high up on the priorities list.
As I recalled earlier in my story, I was working hard as a freelancer. The workload blindsided me from the important things in life and I became obsessed with achieving self-esteem needs in money and the feeling of accomplishment. I was training and working so hard to the point where I felt like I was burning out but I just didn’t stop because I kept the pedal on the metal on myself. Placing pressure on myself, no one else did.
It took me a near death motorbike accident experience to realise what matters in life. This is a completely different story itself and I won’t go into the details! But I had so many realisations after this. It was a traumatic and emotional experience for me. I would’ve had to get a half body skin graft had I not worn my leather jacket on that hot spring day. I was lucky enough to come out of it with dislocated shoulders and a bruise on my hip. I remember doing my shoulder rehab twice everyday for 16 weeks while life moved rapidly before me. I was working so hard to get everything back to normal and in the process I learnt the importance of health, wellbeing and relationships in the process. I took time off work and only did what I could and I loved every minute of it. I had the best support system around me, my family and friends were there for me and that showed me what the best things in life are.
HOW DID YOU TURN THINGS AROUND? WHAT WERE THE NEXT STEPS?
The way I turned things around was simple.
I learnt to say the word NO.
When I was freelancing I thought "the more work, the more commitments and the more I train, the better". I said yes to a lot of projects and in turn became so busy, don’t get me wrong I had a lot of great clients, but my supply was well short of the demand at the time. I learnt how to say no and that became an asset to me as I would only focus on the projects I wanted to and in turn the quality of work became a lot better.
I also set myself short term and long term goals in all facets of my life. I found this so helpful because I was able to break down everything going on in my life and set measurable goals to achieving them. Here’s an example of what I did.
This simple table allows me to see what I need to do every week and balance out the week.
DID YOU HAVE TO ALTER YOUR MINDSET? HOW DID YOU DO THIS?
Living a balanced life means determining what is most important to you and expanding your time and energy accordingly.
My mindset behind this is pretty simple. Don’t waste your time doing things that you don’t enjoy doing. I love my work because I was able to create a career out of doing what I love doing. I love the people around me because I learnt to let go of the people who I thought were toxic to me. It’s not as easy as it sounds but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
I have also grown stronger internally because of the adversity I faced and the lessons I learnt. I also learnt to acknowledge that there are going to be tougher challenges ahead. Acknowledging imminent adversity allows you to prepare for anything that comes your way. I know I still have a long way to go with my social anxiety, but I am working on it bit by bit.
HOW ARE YOU DOING THESE DAYS? I’m doing great! It’s all a process and understanding that the journey is going to be a tightrope act, that’s why it’s important sometimes to step back and look at the world around you and the life you’re living.
I’m currently working on some awesome projects that I’m emotionally invested in, so that is exciting. I’m loving my training, focusing on my upcoming amatuer boxing bouts and enjoying learning everything about boxing. I recently fought and loved the experience! I am loving my social life at the moment, playing golf every weekend with my longtime friends from school. It’s amazing how we haven’t changed and we’ve been able to keep our mateships strong. I’m grateful for that.
Lastly, having my partner Vas, who is also my best mate around helps me stay focused and happy. So all in all, life is great.
Julius & his gorgeous fiancé Vas.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE GOING THROUGH SIMILAR FEELINGS/STRUGGLING TO FIND BALANCE?
From my experiences I’ve learnt a lot about myself and I’m still learning. But if I was to turn back time and tell my younger self what I should have done differently I would focus on the 6 following points:
1. CTRL+ALT DELETE The best part of life is that you have complete control of yourself and what you want to do. A big part of finding balance is to prioritise what’s most important to you. What I wanted to hear when I was struggling was to cut the bullshit from anything slowing me down in my life and not making me happy. Learning to say NO is a great way to prioritise things too.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO HEALTH
One of the main priorities of my day is training. As I said earlier it’s my channel to do something for me and no one else. Whether I’m boxing, at the gym or eating well, it’s my time to be present and focus on myself. Your body is your only true home in this world so it’s so important to look after it.
3. SPEND TIME ALONE/EXPLORE
One thing I loved doing when COVID was non-existent was travelling alone. The best part of this is the fact that you can get up and do whatever you want at your own peril. Yes, it is fun to travel with your mates however I found great pleasure in travelling overseas alone as I was forced to make new friends (which helped my social anxiety) and learn things myself! When I travelled to Japan by myself in 2017 I proved to myself that I could let go of what was going on back home and be present one what I had in front of me.
4. TREAT YOURSELF
This is an important one, to find balance from all the hard work you put yourself through, you have to reward yourself! For me getting a haircut, getting a tattoo or smashing a tub of Gelato Messina is a fun way to do it haha. It doesn’t have to be costly but it does go a long way.
5. HAVE FUN
Have fun along the way. Be yourself and be playful, people love good energy and always want to be around that. Be the energy you want to attract!
6. AND THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE! DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
WHO ARE YOU "BEHIND THE SCENES" & OUTSDIE OF SOCIAL MEDIA? I always endeavour to be myself as much as possible. What you see is what you get with me. I’m a bit of a weirdo and everyone close to me knows that. I feel the energy trying to be something else is wasted and being true to yourself in the outside world is a lot easier to live a more fulfilling life. A lot of my time these days are spent, working on PILLAR Performance, hanging out with Vas, boxing, playing golf with the boys and working on a side project with a bit more time on my hands now that I have stopped freelance work! Stay tuned on my IG because I have some cool things to share in the near future ✌️
HOW I FOUND JULIUS:
I had the pleasure of shooting with Julius, then working alongside him for about a year! I'll admit I was little nervous at the idea of working with someone who appeared to be so extroverted, so insanely talented & smart - as much as I love to learn from people. I quickly that learned that behind that seemingly-extroverted person I had seen on social media, was an incredibly deep & actually introverted person, who had learned to be the master of his mindset. Whether or not he realised at that point. And I looked up to Juju as a mentor. I can't tell you how valuable it was working with him - in more ways than just the creative skills he imparted on me.
Over the years I have always been blown away watching Julius DOING so much, creating, innovating, entertaining on social media in such a unique & authentic way. Which is why his post about balance really stopped me in my tracks. Juju, being a visionary, has created an incredible life - and I feel he has done so by keeping his "why" at the centre of everything he does. Because when we do things because they are meaningful to us, we become energised, and we can actually do more. Whenever I see someone who appears to do so much, so effortlessly, I see that they have found meaning in what they do - and these people make the best mentors. Just like Juju. I highly recommend for you to follow Julius on instagram. I am also insanely proud to see the upcoming launch of his latest passion project - Butter Up, and I recommend you follow along & support his journey there too. Juju's Instagram: www.instagram.com/jujufilms/
Butter Up Co: https://www.instagram.com/butterup_co/
The HUMAN Series
I started this series because, in a world where we all put on happy faces online and in-person, it is very easy to feel alone and isolated when we are struggling. Purely because it looks like no one else is. I want to show you that every person has a story. Every single person on this earth has struggles and has STRUGGLED in the past. Even the happiest people have had to overcome physical/mindset hardships to get where they are in the present. I want to hear their stories, and I want to share their stories. I studied psychology because I wanted to help people. When I was going through a difficult time during my teenage years, I just wanted someone to say “hey, I went through that, it was really hard but I’m still here. Life gets better, it did for me and it will for you” So, I want to bring to light the experiences of others, their struggles, how they got through it and their advice for anyone in the same (or similar) situation. As they say hindsight is 2020, when we work together and support one another, things can be more manageable. If you think of someone who has a story that needs to be shared - please DM me on instagram (instagram.com/jessnugent1). Love & strength, J x