How do we become an energised leader? We live in a time when we have more access to information about health, wellness and how to be well, than ever before. Yet we are more unwell than ever.

A symptom of this is the fact that 35% of Australians are experiencing a significant level of stress in their lives. Other notable statistics relating to our declining standard of wellness include:

  • Obesity rose from 10% of Australians in 1980 to 25% in 2012
  • 63% of Australian adults and a quarter of Australian children are currently either overweight or obese
  • 26% of Australians report above normal levels of anxiety symptoms
  • 26% of Australians report having moderate to extremely severe levels of depression symptoms
  • One in four men aged 30-65, or 1.1 million Australian men, suffer from loneliness reporting few or no social connections
  • Only 24% of employees in Australia show employee engagement. Employee engagement has not budged in a decade.
  • Almost 70% of Australian adults can be classed as either sedentary or having low levels of physical activity. Less than one in five adults take  10,000 steps each day.
  • In 2014-15, approximately 4.2 million Australian adults (18.3%) reported having a disease of the circulatory system. Approximately 2.6 million Australians reported having hypertension (high blood pressure) and 430,000 indicated that they had experienced a heart attack at some point in their life.
  • Up to 3 million Australians over the age of 25 years will have diabetes by the year 2025. The current total annual healthcare cost for Australians with Type 2 diabetes is around $6 billion.
  • Australians consume an average of 60g of sugar each day, or the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of white sugar: 2.4 times more than World Health Organisation recommendations.

For leaders, this presents additional challenges. Ever-increasing demands, not just at work but in life, impact our stress levels, creative and innovative thinking, and ability to handle disruptive change, productivity, absenteeism and talent retention.

This reality raises four questions: