Australian entrepreneur, bestselling author, intrepid problem-solver and investigator into how to live better, Sarah Wilson wanted to be the country’s prime minister when she was growing up. Instead, she went on to help 1.2 million people across the world quit sugar.

Taking 5 with Sarah Wilson:

Time you rise and shine?

6.30am 

Do you have a morning ritual?

Drink hot water, get out the door and exercise for 20 to 60 minutes (an ocean swim or heated yoga, reformer Pilates, stair running, or yoga and weights while watching the morning news in my lounge).

I then meditate (preferably outside in the sun) for 20 minutes before I start my ‘official’ day.

Your typical work day?

It’s never typical. I’m overseas or interstate about a quarter of the year. I flit between my business, writing, TV work and myriad projects.

The meeting that changed your life?

My first board meeting for the business in March this year.

The one thing you must do every day?

Meditate.

Dream job as a kid?

Australian Prime Minister. 

Biggest risk that has paid off?

Starting an online business and eschewing the advertising revenue model.

Best piece of advice?

Marketer Seth Godin told me this in an interview: “Real artists – entrepreneurs and creatives – give.” By which he meant, put your product out for free first.

Build community, enrolment and trust, then charge transparently for additional behind paywall products. This has always sat well with me and has enabled me to build a truly loyal community.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Your hyper-vigilance and un-laid-back approach will pay off one day.

What woman inspires you most?

Helen Garner. Her desire to express truth has driven her, and the rest of us, to challenging places.

Who is your greatest mentor?

My meditation teacher.

Your version of success?

When you can semi-retire in your 40s.

Favourite websites?

newyorker.com, nytimes.com, brainpickings.org & theguardian.com

Most surprising thing in your handbag?

I think it’s probably surprising to some that I don’t own a handbag. Never have. I travel very light.

Guilty pleasure?

Dark chocolate and red wine in equal measure (although I don’t feel guilty when consuming).

How do you unwind?

I go bush. I hike around the world and bush camp.

What keeps you awake at night?

A lot of things. I’ve been an insomniac for 3 decades.

The last thing you do before you go to sleep?

Reflect on 3 good things that happened. As naff as it sounds, a gratitude ritual has been shown to shut down the anxious part of the brain at night. 

Lights out?

10.30pm


First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story about Anxiety by Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson’s new book, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story about Anxiety, is available now.