For a long time, I managed my anxiety with a mix of too much alcohol (particularly red wine) and poor food choices.
I drank so much red wine my skin went red and I would use green make-up to try and reduce the redness of my skin. I was really embarrassed about the colour of my skin colour; but not so much that I would stop drinking.
I often ate bad food to counter the yucky feeling of being hungover. So it would be of no surprise that by age 50 I weighed more than 100 kg (162 cm in height) and I could barely move because I rarely exercised. I also criticised anyone who didn’t drink alcohol and people wearing lycra! I was on fire.
Good news: I nearly died - and eventually I got the memo!
So the benefit of having an addictive personality is that I retrained it. I have now become obsessed with exercise and healthy food. Winning!
Then came the summer of 2020. Huge bushfires that raged for weeks and then COVID-19. My anxiety kicked in and so did my addictions.
I became obsessed with COVID-19 and US politics. I was so stressed by what was going on I felt I needed to know everything about - well - everything to do with COVID and US politics. I researched the population size of most countries so I could calculate their percentage of COVID and death rates and I read US newspapers like a political junky. Problem is, I am not a scientist and I can’t add anything to better managing COVID-19 and I have no influence on US politics at all.
So, I needed to change my focus again. Use my addictive personality for good - not to just add to my own anxiety levels.
I am now limiting myself to how many times I can check the world leaderboard on COVID cases and how often I can check the headlines of the Huffington Post, Washington Post and the New York Times (and yes I am very much left-leaning). I am redirecting my time and energy to spending more time consuming articles and podcasts on positive psychology and understanding the nuances of leadership.
To help me focus I have taken on a new project. I am writing another book. A book exploring the new voice of leaders. What is working well and what are the challenges of leadership in a mid-post COVID world?
If you are a leader who wants to chat with me about leadership in this extraordinary time in history, then let's talk. It’s my new addiction.