Dr Ashley Bloomfield has revealed his role as Director-General of Health has caused him to have “moments of great self-doubt and of anxiety”.
Dr Bloomfield said during a webinar with the Graeme Dingle Foundation last week that he also “loves” the days when he doesn’t have to front a press conference because they cause him to feel stressed.
“I know when I have [an upcoming press conference] because by 10 in the morning, I can just feel my cortisol levels rising and I’m focused. I’m probably not that much fun to be around at work, only because I’m focussed and thinking about what’s coming ahead,” he said.
“In this role – and I’m quite open about it with my staff – I have moments of great self-doubt and of anxiety, and I love the days when I don’t have a stand-up to do.”
Dr Bloomfield said while his staff help support him in preparing for press conferences, it was important to acknowledge and name the anxiety in the first place so people know why you feel the way you do.
“We all have limitations. None of us can keep going. We’ve got to be able to accept the things that we can’t control, and I think about this 15 percent rule.”
He said this rule means people only have control over about 15 percent of what’s happening in a given situation.
“Of course, the best thing you can do is maximise that 15 percent and also work with others, and collectively you’ll be able to get a much greater degree of control over a situation and of a good outcome.”
It isn’t the first time Dr Bloomfield has spoken about his anxiety and self-doubt he’s had in his role. He told the podcast Learnt My Lesson in August even though he appears to be calm during press conferences, he finds it “quite stressful”.
“I had reached a point, a couple of weeks prior [to his holiday] – came into work one day and I didn’t have a stand-up but it got to about 9 or 10 in the morning and I started to feel quite anxious,” he said.
“I just would get very anxious and I thought right, and that’s not me at all, but I just realised that it was that sustained and intense kind of stress – I needed to take a break away from this.”
He also said it’s important to take regular breaks and stressed how “essential” it is to take time out from working. \
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