Flow-Based not Fear-Based | Is Mainstream Media Distracting Us From What We SAY We Want?

PROBLEM:  We lack bold, big-picture, courageous leaders ready to tackle in-our-face global problems.

OBSERVATION:  These leaders are out there, but far too few are operating at their optimal potential.

  • 70 per cent of employees are not showing up to work fully committed to delivering their best performance. 52 percent of those workers are basically sleepwalking through their day. *
  • 92 per cent of people don’t achieve their goals. **
  • Only 25% of people believe they are living up to their potential to be creative, and more than 75% of people feel that their countries are not living up to their collective potential to be creative. +

RESULT:  A fear-based rather than flow-based form of leadership in business and in life.


Digital Marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day.

The power of influence that media has is astounding.  If incoming messages are not lifting us up, they’re weighing us down.  There’s no in-between.  As a result of complete overwhelm, many of us fall into a state of auto-pilot living, ‘scrolling through life’, choosing reactive rather than proactive leadership.

Auto-pilot living doesn’t produce high-performing leaders.

  • Have we lost our connection to all that is possible?
  • Are we operating at the level that is needed to solve our world’s problems?
  • Have we lost a more intimate connection with each other?

How are we measuring success? 

According to the Harvard Business Review, we feel we are performing at our potential (defined as ‘personal success’) when the following experiences are evident.  Only 17% of men and women equate happiness with personal success and even less for a life of meaning.  Conversely, consumption of antidepressants in Canada is the third-highest among 23 developed countries surveyed by the OECD.  Our state of well-being and being well is colliding with how we define success.

We’re on a slippery slope of auto-pilot leadership, but we’re being called out on it.  Who is calling us out?

The world, Planet Earth, our home, that’s who.

Our Home

We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns the UN.

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.” ++

Our world, our Home is calling for flow-based not fear-based leadership.  Leaders operating at their highest potential for our greatest good are needed now more than ever before to shift this trajectory within the stated timeline.  How are we individually and collectively answering this call?  Is mainstream media creating a sense of urgency around this timeline or distracting us from this priority?  We can do better.

Our Health

The average life expectancy of Canadians continues to rise, and has now reached 81.1 years.  What does the quality of our life and our mental, physical and emotional health look like?  According to The Canada Guide:

  • The Government of Canada estimates that between 150,000 to 300,000 Canadians “experience homelessness” in a given year.
  • Personal debt is a significant problem in Canada, and by some estimates Canadians are the most personally-indebted people in the western world.
  • Among western democracies, Canada has generally high levels of economic inequality, with the gap between Canada’s rich and poor having steadily increased since the 1990s.

Circling back to our health: All of these factors (and more) contribute to stress.  According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

Our Health is calling for flow-based not fear-based leadership that ensures quality of life of all Canadians.  Is mainstream media encouraging our optimal health and well-being or sabotaging it?  We can do better.

Our Healing

Wounds run deep.  Many of them inter-generational.  Broken humans endeavour to navigate life as best they can.  Our country, our home and its people will only get stronger as we do.  Our well-being must take priority.

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing measures what Canadians care about most: their health, living standards, leisure time, their kids’ education, even the air they breathe. GDP doesn’t. It just measures how much money is circulating in the economy. <

  • 21-years of data comparing the wellbeing of Canadians to economic growth shows the gap between GDP and our wellbeing is growing.
  • Canadians are sacrificing the things that make life worthwhile: culture, leisure, volunteering and social connection with friends and community – even sleep.
  • Community Vitality is also a strength as people pull together, feel they belong and communities are safer.
  • Living Standards plummeted 11% post-recession and inequality is up.
  • Leisure and Culture dropped 9% overall. Household spending on culture and recreation in 2014 was at its lowest point in the 21-year history.
  • Environmental progress is flat-lining.
  • We urgently need to put wellbeing at the heart of public policy.
  • We need to imagine a Canada where the CIW is as familiar, and as valued, as GDP, the TSX and the DOW.

We need leaders who role-model principles of well-being and being well to not only survive but thrive We need consistent media messaging that supports and encourages the daily practice of high-performance living that plays into these principles of nutrient-dense eating, regular activity, positive mindset, quality connections and environmental conscientiousness.  We can do better.

Where do we begin?

We can positive affect change with the decisions we make with our dollars.

Individuals: Support organizations who place priority around our home, health and healing and use their media-buy budgets to communicate their priorities and positively influence others to take action.

Marketers:  Learn more about MEDIA2MOBILIZE.  You can champion change if you choose to.

Corporate Decision-Makers: You can create a shift in your sector or industry by shifting where your media-buy budget dollars are being spent and for what purpose.  Let’s start here.

Policymakers:  I encourage you to review policy regarding the advancement of women leaders.  Get specific.  Set timelines and tangible outcomes.  Get these priorities onto the dashboard.

I’m here to help.

PowHERhouse stands beside me ready to help you take action on your commitment to flow-based rather than fear-based leadership.


*Gallup research

**University of Scranton research

+Adobe research

++The Guardian

< The Canadian Index of Wellbeing

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About Charlene SanJenko

Charlene SanJenko, Founder + CEO of PowHERhouse Impact Media Group, has worked intimately with thousands of women over the past 20+ years to understand what they need to fully integrate excellence and fulfillment in all areas of their lives. www.powherhouse.com