I understand your fears, because I've lived them
I am many things; a professional problem-solver, crisis manager and emotional support puppy for thousands of people
I am a reformed stress addict, former insomniac, running a constant inner monologue of stress and distress.
Exhausting was the defining word of my life.
My Facebook feed was filled with 'thank god it's friday' or 'monday morning need more coffee' type posts because I wore my stress and anxiety like a badge of honour, as thought exhaustion made me good at my job and worthy of praise.
There were more days than I could count that I would sit crying on the side of the bed in the morning, wondering how I was going to get through another 12 hour day at work.
Exhaustion was killing my life...and my love for my career
The really difficult thing wasn't the long hours or the bad food eaten at my desk. It wasn't even the difficult days where nothing was good enough, because to begin with the good days outweighed the bad and even the bad days were filled with satisfaction, if not enjoyment.
Except, slowly, that satisfaction was eroded day by day.
The exhaustion outweighed the enjoyment. I began to feel bitter, cynical and disappointed.
My weight was creeping up, my energy was at an all-time low and the phrase that kept running through my head was 'Is this it?'
I reached breaking point and burned out
10 years of working 60-90 hour weeks coupled with a sudden and shocking bereavement, I felt like I had been on a rollercoaster for far too long. I suffered a complete collapse in my physical and emotional health. I was terrified that my friends and colleagues would think I was slacking off, that I was lazy and I felt like I should have had this all under control. I was trapped in fear and exhaustion; constantly in a state of flight or fight and living on the edge of my nerves. I felt nauseous, suffered constant headaches and problems with my back and neck, I wasn't sleeping or eating properly and I couldn't see a way out.
My body was screaming out what my mind had refused to hear
Four years on I am in a completely different place.
I spent two years working full time in law and running two businesses outside those day job hours. Just recently I was told how 'relaxed' I seemed at work (something I would have taken as an insult a year ago!) and I achieve more and in less hours than I ever have done before.
I spent my days implementing the tools I shared in my evenings - I know this works because I lived it.
I created boundaries, both at work and at home, that allow me to work and relax without feeling guilty or beating myself up.
Don't get me wrong, life still has its challenges.
But my approach is so different. A bad day doesn't mean I beat myself up or eat my emotions into submission.
I care for myself and pay attention to what is going on; if my body is exhausted and wants rest then I listen to it.
I no longer draw my identity and self-worth from my career.
My inner monologue is no longer as negative and defeatist - and on the bad days I challenge myself to take action to put myself back into a positive space.
THAT'S WHY YOU'RE HERE
Thought I’d forgotten you?
Here’s what I know about you. You’re smart (although you’ll deny it, I’m sure), you are hard-working and have put so much time, energy and care into where you are today. But you are struggling and something I have said has struck a chord because you can’t help but feel like, really, this is it? I am so glad you’re here.
I think we share a few things in common.
You are exhausted. You have worked long and hard to get where you are today and you are not stopping here. You want to make a big difference and that means climbing the corporate ladder. Whilst you are motivated by more than just money, you know that there are big things coming in your career. If you can just get there. Because lately it hasn’t all been plan sailing, you have found yourself struggling and reaching out for support and coming up short.
This isn’t a new thing, you have struggled for some time to balance work and home and health and happiness, the last two being the first to suffer when the pressure is on. As a result, you are beginning to wonder if the career you have worked so hard for is really worth it.
You don’t have to do this alone.
My name is Leah and I am your burnout and resilience mentor.
I spent more than a decade swinging through the monkey bars of a professional legal career; jumping from role to role for progress, promotion or pay increases. Taking every opportunity going in order to gain recognition and respect. Working 70+hours each week. Taking on second and even third jobs to pay the rent whilst I ‘paid my dues’ in poorly paid paralegal roles. Qualifying without stopping for breath to celebrate my achievements.
I dealt with every crisis that came my way and over time my defences began to crumble. My resilience waned. I self-medicated with caffeine, sugar and junk food. I became cynical and felt defeated.
I isolated myself from friends and family, wearing the stress and exhaustion like a badge of honour whilst concealing my suffering from them.
Until eventually, my physical and emotional health collapsed.
I have spent the last 5 years rebuilding my career and personal life from the ground up.
I love my career and clients but I no longer make myself for a crushingly exhausting workload.
I have developed a whole host of tricks to help me maximise my time, prioritise, order and increase my efficiency without leaving me anxious or feeling overwhelmed.
I have built my resilience to allow me to deal with (almost!) anything life throws at me and to develop perspective and understanding of those events that are beyond normal or out of my control.
Now it’s your turn.
No-one should suffer alone, feeling out of control and unable to cope. You don’t have to hit rock bottom or do it the hard way; you can share my techniques and tips to building resilience, beating burnout and letting your career and life flourish. I am on your side, always. I will guide and support you out of the difficulty and into a place of ease and kindness.
I offer the support and guidance that I wish I had received when I was struggling with burnout.