Today I delivered a workshop to a corporate client on resilience and wellbeing. During the talk I shared my story of narrowly avoiding burnout, not once, but twice in my career.
What I still find so sad is that I’m not alone. On a weekly basis I speak with women who have had (or are having) a similar experience. Only last month the World Health Organisation classified burnout as an occupational hazard.
They describe burnout as being characterised by three dimensions:
- Feeling depleted or exhausted
- Feeling disengaged, negative or cynical towards your job
- Reduced professional effectiveness
They seem to indicate it’s limited to a professional or occupational context and doesn’t relate to experiences in other areas of life. But I would have to disagree.
My experience is that where our careers and motherhood collide is the perfect storm for burnout. If burnout is the consequence of relentless rising demand, complexity, change and uncertainty, then nothing adds to this toxic cocktail more than motherhood on top of an already demanding career.
Just as most illnesses can’t be cured by putting a band-aid sticky plaster on them. The same is true for burnout. They require a more systemic intervention. And so does burnout.
I know this because I experienced near burnout on two separate occasions. In two very different work settings. Ultimately the common denominator was me.
And recovering from burnout was an inside-out job.
Taking myself out of the environment just meant that I repeated the same pattern. I just showed up in another demanding environment hoping that things would be different. But they weren’t. I had to be different.
It wasn’t until I was able to reimagine my work from the inside out:
- challenging my limiting assumptions and beliefs about what a successful career driven women did
- redefining how I measured my success
- unhooking myself from the unhelpful cultural conditioning (e.g. longer, faster, harder is better!)
- and combining this with my other roles as mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, governor, godmother……(and the list goes on)
that I could start to live my life fully without the fear of burnout. Whilst my experience of burnout wasn’t my fault, it was my responsibility to learn how to make sure I didn’t get a breath away from it again.
So if you’d like to learn more about what I shared with my client today in this workshop around resilience, wellbeing and avoiding burnout then drop me a note. I’m here to support you to burn brightly in your life without burning out.
We’re genuine, like-minded women, just like you!
We’re a community, reinventing how we combine work and motherhood without sacrificing our sanity and wellbeing.