A former high-flying business man has revealed how working up to 20 hours a day in his role at one of Australia's largest companies led him to the edge of a breakdown.

Sean Hall, 40, worked as a senior executive and said a combination of long hours, perfectionism and high expectations saw him burn out twice in his 30s.

Hall said his career choices took such a toll on his mental and physical health that two episodes in 2012 and 2014 forced him to completely reconsider his career.

"The first time I was wandering through David Jones and found myself disorientated and frazzled," he told Daily Mail Australia.


"I didn't know how I got there. I was completely on auto-pilot.

"I felt like I was going to implode - I was on the verge of a complete nervous break down."

Hall said he was a high-achiever in his former role, and was recognised as being in the top one per cent of leaders in the organisation.

During this time he would work until 2am, and his inbox was flooded with hundreds of emails a day.

The 40-year-old said he began to lose confidence after taking on more responsibilities, which led to another burn out.

"I was spread thin and felt like I was losing my mojo and my ability," he said.

"I started to lose my confidence and I got into my head with negative thoughts."

Hall said his lack of confidence began to manifest itself physically, and his throat "felt like it was closing" when he tried to speak during meetings.


"I'd get into a meeting with people where I needed to express myself clearly and I just had anxiety all over."

"There was lot of negative self-talk. I'd say things to myself that I would never say to another person."

I felt like I was going to implode - I was on the verge of a complete nervous break down.

The New Zealander said he felt alone and didn't want to reveal he was struggling in order to protect his professional reputation.

He also believes it's particularly hard for men to admit they are not coping in a corporate environment, due to the stigma around mental illness.

Hall decided to change career in 2015 after assessing the contributing factors to his stress. "If you're working in big corporate... you can't change the organisation so you have to think about how you can change yourself," he said.

After determining the factors of his "energy crises", Hall established Energx - a performance coaching company which aims to prevent workers from having the same experiences.

The company is also aimed at benefiting Australian business, which currently loses $10b a year due to a loss of productivity through stressed employees, Hall said.