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Leadership Development

Overcoming Overwhelm: a Modern Leaders Guide

One of the biggest obstacles facing modern leaders is feeling inundated with an overwhelming amount of information, and where attaining work-life balance appears increasingly elusive, a new generation of leaders is rising to the challenge. It is a call to redefine what it means to be a successful leader and to explore a vision of leadership rooted not in anxious busyness, but in purpose, effectiveness, and wellness at work.

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How Resilient and Ready is Your Health?

How Resilient and Ready is Your Health?

Written by Bridie Allen, The Leadership Sphere Office Manager, USA

So here we are, Q1 2023. Do you remember where you were in 2017? More than five years ago. 

Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America, The Australian Government legalized same sex marriage, The #MeToo movement began, Britain began the Brexit process, ISIS captured Iraq’s 2nd largest city, Mosul, North Korea was conducting Nuclear weapon tests, The Queen was still head of the commonwealth and no-one had heard of Covid-19. A lot has changed on the world stage. 

What has changed for you in the last 5 years? Where was your business, team or career 5 years ago? 

Based on the high calibre of people we here at The Leadership Sphere have the privilege of working with every day, I’m going to assume that you are a leader; a high achiever with an exceptional work ethic. That you are a goal-setter, a go-getter & a big hitter. You are a planner, prioritiser & powerhouse decision-maker. I also suspect that you have made incredible progress in your professional ‘work’ life in that time. Every day for the last five years (& longer) you have taken intentional steps towards your vision of your future. That you focus on this area of your life, recover from setbacks, and continue to drive forward with relentless determination. The climate & landscape in which you operate may have changed significantly during this time, you will have certainly faced challenges like never before and you may be feeling the consequences of those pressures. I’m also confident that it is during testing times that you have grown stronger and wiser. 


Phil Ralph, founder and CEO of The Leadership Sphere has designed our suite of leadership development programs to deliver sustainable transformational change within individuals and teams. One of the strategies within these programs is bringing the undiscussables to the table. We don’t shy away from the elephant in the room. We believe in Brené Brown’s theories of brave work, tough conversations and vulnerability to develop courageous leaders. There is no growth in comfort.

The following questions for you to ponder may cause you to feel uncomfortable:

  • What’s the current state of your physical and mental Health? 
  • Are you well? 
  • Are you fit? 
  • Are you content and confident with your body? 
  • Do you nourish your body with real food every day? 
  • Do you drink too much alcohol and/or caffeine? 
  • Do you smoke? 
  • What are your energy levels like? 
  • Is it different or the same at work and home? 
  • Are you managing your stress levels? 
  • Do you exercise often & regularly? 
  • What was the state of your physical and mental health five years ago
  • Has it improved or deteriorated? Have you set any goals in this area? 
  • Have you achieved them? 
  • Have elements beyond your control triggered changes in your habits and routines? 
  • Have you committed the same focus, effort and determination to your health as you have to your work? 
  • What is in your power to alter or improve? 

Your responses to these questions may help you to take action, if it is required, so I encourage you to re-read them and take some time alone to consider, truthfully, your answers and perhaps more importantly how your answers make you feel. Whether you are smashing it out of the park, trying to conceal a whole family of elephants or like most of us fall somewhere in-between, treat yourself with some compassion and kindness – you are in fact human after all. And all human behaviour is driven by pain or pleasure. Our actions either move us away from pain or toward pleasure. Fear and pain can be our greatest teachers; if we are listening. 


At TLS Head, Heart and Hands is an underlying principle for the design and delivery of all our leadership programs. I know, I feel, I do. This applies when working on leading self – which as it happens is where we ALWAYS begin.

“At TLS Head, Heart and Hands is an underlying principle for the design and delivery of all our leadership programs. I know, I feel, I do. This applies when working on leading self – which as it happens is where we ALWAYS begin.”

Head – I Know

Based on my assumption that you are an intelligent, knowledgeable, and driven individual, I’m confident that you know the importance of health. You know that your commitment to success at work comes with a load, called stress. 

You understand that cumulative stress is a term used to describe the gradual buildup of stress over time, which can profoundly affect one’s mental and physical health. Long-term exposure to high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can lead to serious physical and psychological consequences, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, weakened immune system, heart disease, and even early death. 

It’s also not new information to you that exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress levels. Regular physical activity can help release endorphins, which have a calming effect. Additionally, exercising regularly can help build resilience and provide an outlet for expressing emotions.

One of the Seven Spheres of Leadership Mastery as outlined in Leadership without Silver Bullets – by Phillip Ralph is Resilience: energy management, wellbeing, optimism, stress management, exercise. 

Ralph states “The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not.” 
Sound energy management practices are more than just what you do, arguably the most important factor is Why.

Head – I Feel

It’s quite simple really. If exercise was a pill we would all take one every day. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s not; it’s hard. It’s hard to balance it all. To consistently eat well and exercise regularly takes discipline. So you need to find your why? Discover what drives you? What motivates you? No-one else can do this for you. No article on the top 10 tips to start running, no discounted joining fee on a gym membership, no new year’s resolution. Your reasons to change any behaviour MUST be stronger than your excuses to stay the same. Your Why MUST outweigh the why nots. 

If you haven’t heard of Simon Sinek’s work, including his Ted Talk “Start with Why”, I recommend taking a listen or even a refresh if you haven’t reviewed it in a while. 

Picture this. Five years from now you continue with the same habits that are contributing to your current state of health, recall your answers to the earlier questions. Where are you? What do you look like? Follow the trends, the data – the same way you would when mapping out a business plan and sales targets. Is that where you want to be? If yes, Congratulations. You are on the right path for you. 

For those of us who may have been tip-toeing around large piles of elephant dung pretending we can’t see where it’s coming from, try on a vision of what you want ‘five years into the future you’ to look like. Picture yourself doing the things you know you need to do to get where you want to be. Feel what it feels like to be smashing your health and fitness goals out of the park. Just the same way you plan and visualise the bigger house, the new car and the bottom line on your Profit and Loss. How great does it feel to buy new clothes that fit well and look fabulous? What numbers do you want to see on the blood pressure monitor at the doctor’s? How much energy do you want to have for your children or grandchildren at the beach for holidays?

Head – I Do

How resilient and ready are you to take on 2023? At work I’m certain you lead in a style that celebrates success and rewards effort, which in turn inspires continued progression. I invite you to do the same to your incredible body that has lived to see all the changes and transitions that we have seen worldwide. Show some self-love, care and compassion. Listen to the signs that tell you to rest when you need to rest. And listen to the signs that tell you to take action when you need to take action. 

When you conduct an assessment that identifies an area that needs improvement you likely outsource expertise beyond your own. You use a tax accountant to file and comply, a search engine optimisation company to maximise your marketing spend and a mechanic to fix your car. My recommendation is not to DIY the most important renovation of your life. Make an appointment with your doctor or local gym (or another qualified expert). Start with an assessment, a baseline, the honest truth. Gather the data. Feel the pain or pleasure of the reality of the current state you are in. You would do nothing different with a department in your business! Then start at the beginning with goals, visions and a plan. Then with relentless determination, day after day for the next five years (& the rest of your life) keep working towards it. You will have setbacks. There will be things beyond your control. And if you are honest with yourself and have the courage to change you absolutely can. If you need to begin exercising and need some help with where to start – check out this 17 min Ted talk from a fellow Kiwi gal, Lauren Parsons and her idea of snacking on exercise.

Something that we believe in strongly here at TLS is actioning our learning. Have you read something in this article that feels important to you? Did something resonate with you? Was it provocative? If there is a yes in there, I recommend you act now. Yes, right now. Pick up a pen, write a note, book an appointment, or make a phone call. Writing it down or telling someone will be the first step in making a change. A change to become a healthier, more resilient you!

About The Leadership Sphere

The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

How Resilient and Ready is Your Health?

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