Matt Adams Biography
Matt Adams is a stress expert, burnout specialist and anxiety-hacker offering training, speaking, consulting and coaching.
Matt has taken the ‘life and death’ experiences with stress, burnout and anxiety that he overcame (the hard way).. to help others.
From stress and burnout at 24 to his life-changing panic attack at 27, his tools, techniques and strategies help individuals and organizations prevent, manage or overcome stress and burnout.
Matt was born on Norfolk Island, a small island 1400km (900mi) off the east coast of Australia.
Matt lived on Norfolk with his family until age 7 when his Dad received a work transfer to Sydney.
They moved to Sydney for two years then onto Adelaide, South Australia where Matt finished school.
Early Success Before Stress
Matt completed a Bachelor of Business (Information Systems) and in the last year of University delved heavily into Personal Development books after being handed his first book from a friend at University.
A week later he went to a second-hand book store and came home with a box full of books.
These books provided inspiration as well as a foundation for Matt’s life from then on.
Matt started his working career in the IT Industry in Brisbane before making a career change one year later in order to learn Sales, starting a career in real estate at age 23.
Within 10 months Matt went from being a Salesperson to Senior Sales Person, and two months later was promoted to Sales Manager.
Four months later he was promoted to Sales Manager of a second office.
He purchased his first house, a brand new car and was on top of the world.
But tasked with hiring new salespeople, running sales meetings, mentoring new salespeople, managing two sales teams as well as listing and selling property, it wasn’t long before Matt started experiencing the signs and symptoms of stress.
After running on adrenaline for several months, taking no time off, then ignoring stress symptoms for a further 3 months, Matt eventually hit a wall.
The prolonged stress lead to severe burnout and he resigned within 48 hours as he could no longer continue.
Matt in his real estate days
When Everything Changed
The stress that Matt suffered in real estate turned into work-related anxiety with every other job he took on.
But this was nothing compared to what came next.
In August 2006 Matt interviewed for a well-paying, high-stress job for a large Australian real estate website.
He was offered the job three days later… but 3 hours earlier the same day Matt had an experience that changed the course of his life forever.
He was driving along a busy road in Brisbane and took a phone call from a friend.
Within a few seconds his heart started pounding like crazy.
He started gasping for air as he pushed himself back into the seat in an effort to get it all to stop.
He thought he was having a heart attack.
He still had the steering wheel in one hand and the phone in the other hand and was unable to pull over due to traffic.
The attack continued for about 8-10 seconds.
When it finished he had a layer of perspiration over any exposed skin and the tip of his tongue was completely numb.
After gathering himself, he thought “what the hell was that?“.
With a doctor’s office only 5 minutes away, he drove straight there.
He explained what had just happened and they connected him up to an ECG machine and…
No sign of anything.
All was normal… supposedly.
Although he initially accepted the new job, he resigned three days later on the Sunday to avoid having to go to the one-week induction training.
Experiencing the panic attack just a few days prior, the though of being ‘stuck’ in the training all week bought up all the stress feelings from the past, only now, there was the added anxiety of having another panic attack.
He called his Mum, saying:
“I don’t think I can ever work again’.
Three days later he was working in a factory making ladders.
He’d received the most random of phone calls from a recruitment agency that he’d put his resume with a year prior, saying, ‘we’re not sure if you’re interested but we’ve got a manual labor job… no interview required, you can start tomorrow afternoon.’
It was perfect.
A no-stress job meant that Matt could focus his time on fixing his stress once and for all.
The next 4 months were the toughest 4 months of Matt’s life.
For the 4 months following the panic attack, Matt was experiencing up to 100 heart palpitations per day, lightning-shock feelings in his heart and sensations and thoughts of:
“I’m going to die“.
One night he literally did not sleep, not even for a second. His reoccurring thought was:
“if I go to sleep, I won’t wake up”.
He was almost fired due to taking too many sick days off.
At least one morning a week for four months, Matt would have the reoccurring thought/feeling:
“If I go to work today, I will die“
After 4 long months of suffering, learning and trying different things to try to fix himself, he had a breakthrough.
In December 2006 he came across a technique in a book that changed his life.
Implementing the technique immediately, he reduced the daily heart palpitations to almost zero and completely eliminated the lightning-shock feelings in his heart.
And he took just one day off work in the following 7 months.
After 10 months of self-rehabilitation through this technique and others he either discovered or created, he developed the confidence to believe that he was ready to return to full-time work in his field of expertise.
Rehab, Reset, Relaunch
Due to these life-changing experiences and events in Matt’s life, he focused all his energy, attention and time on figuring out how the mind and body work.
He went organic, began meditating and tested just about every alternative therapy, mind technique or body healing strategy he could find.
Through his self-rehab and self-discovery, Matt started jogging for the first time in his life.
He started with just 1 lap of a soccer field, then 2 laps, then 4 laps, and continued until he was comfortably running 5 x 6km (3.7mi) per week.
After a year of running, he then began stage two of his self-rehabilitation by joining a local gym to build muscle and strength.
He found a training partner and started lifting heavy weights 4 times per week.
Over the next 4 years he gained 15kg (33lbs) of lean muscle mass, going from 78kg (171lbs) to 93kg (205lbs).
With his history of stress and anxiety, this was as much a mental accomplishment as it was physical.
Matt has continued his dedication to health and fitness ever since.
Hard Way Vs Easy Way Out Of Stress & Burnout
Despite the extent of his stress, burnout and anxiety, Matt never took one pharmaceutical drug, visited one doctor or therapist to treat the symptoms he was experiencing.
After fixing stress, burnout and anxiety the hard way… he’s able to show his coaching clients and audiences the easy way out of stress and burnout.
His 5-step method leads to resilience against stress, burnout and anxiety in as little as a month for his coaching clients.
Matt is a contributing Author to a #1 Best-Selling book on Amazon: ‘Activate Your Life’ (Volume III) – a book featuring 23 health and wellness coaches worldwide who share their top strategy, technique or exercise to create change in the mind and body. (Published Oct 2021)
He’s the Founder and President of the International Work Stress Institute (WorkStressInstitute.org) – a non-profit organization that offers education, training, speaking and consulting to organizations globally to educate and empower their employees to create long-term change in the workplace.
He is currently finishing his book about his journey with stress, burnout and anxiety. It’s due to be released in early 2024.
Based in Brisbane, he spends his time between Brisbane, London and Los Angeles.