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Are You A Superhero? And why pretending you are could be contributing to Burnout

Are You A Superhero?

I am not a superhero, and yet in the few years before I burned out, many of my friends, family, and colleagues would describe me as one.

“Hey Superwoman”

“Hey Wonderwoman”

“You’re like a superhero, I don’t know how you do it all”

And on the back of my leaving card as I moved from my penultimate internal role to my final internal role, the Head of Comms and Marketing, Simon, added to the messages of praise for my high-performing, over-achiever ridiculously high standards with this image.

 

Whilst I have never considered myself to be a superhero, a wonder woman or a superwoman, I can’t deny that the views of others, who saw me as a superhero of sorts, drove me to keep performing at the level I was performing at.

The endless juggling.

Each promotion came in very quick succession to the next.

The non-stop project work and continuous improvements.

The increased performance stats and the targets were all met,...

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Burnout 2.0: What I Didn't Realise I Needed To Do The First Time

Uncategorized Jan 18, 2023

I burned out, badly, in 2013. Yes, your Maths are correct, 10 years ago, and I’m still banging on about it every single day. In January 2013 the physical signs of Burnout really started to take hold of me. By the end of the second week of January, I was taken to the hospital for the first time. The first of many it turns out. And in July 2013 I underwent two operations in 48 hours under two different consultants for two different physical illnesses at two different hospitals, not the greatest week of my life.

And you’d have thought that all of this would be enough to make me see that something needed to change.

It didn’t.

I still hadn’t joined the dots, I still thought I could just carry on as I had been doing. Commuting to London every day, working up to 16 hours a day, spending all weekend with my sons, and then out with friends on a Friday night. I smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, and ate what I wanted when I...

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How Steep Is The Hill?

How steep is the hill?

Last week really took it out of me.

#ThisIsBurnout was incredible, overwhelming in ways I hadn't imagined, emotional, tiring, and uplifting, all in one. My usual routine went out of the window, I'd added two additional things in that I should have said no to, and whilst I was expecting to be tired, I wasn't expecting to be as exhausted as I was. Plus, I'd been sat down for far too long each day, not something I normally do.

My partner Mick and I went on a long walk with Elysa, our rescue pooch, a beautiful Japanese Akita.  Mick has done the route a couple of times with his brother in the past, it was a new one for me, and whilst it was lovely, it was a bloody killer.

The distance was less than four miles, not a length that would normally phase me, and not too much less than I walk with the dog on a daily basis, but with more inclines and a big hill back to the car at the end, my calves are still aching.

The hills on the walk made me think back to a...

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Less Is More?

In a world full of polarities where one side of the fence is telling you to do more, hustle harder and push yourself to the limit, the other side is telling you to do less, focus on less, and be surrounded by less if you really want to succeed.

If I’m honest, I’ve mostly lived on the hustle-harder side of the fence. A fierce overachieving, high-performing, recovering perfectionist who struggles with ‘slow and steady’, with one pace, fast. If you want sh!t doing, I’m your woman. I gave up on ‘to-do’ lists years ago, instead having a ‘get done’ list, where if it’s down it's done, and I’ve always stuck with that.

In my corporate career, I was the innovator, the rebel, the first one to try things differently, always striving for more, always working harder, always coming up with new ideas and new ways to do things, and it’s been pretty much the same in my own businesses since I left the corporate world in...

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Power-FULL Boundaries

burnout wellbeing Nov 29, 2022

One of the first things I usually find myself working with my clients on, is setting and maintaining boundaries, because without boundaries, the people-pleasing, guilt, frustration and stress continues to grow, and we know that these things can lead to burnout.

POWER-FULL Boundaries are a promise to yourself and others where you clearly state what you will do, and won’t do, in a given situation.  The purpose of setting POWER-FULL Boundaries is to set reasonable limits, protect your energy, your sanity and your time, so that you feel more calm, more in control and much more stress-LESS.  POWER-FULL boundaries help you to become rich in time, energy, calm, and joy, BUT, you have to actually maintain them and enforce them in order for them to work!

Many of the clients that I work with say they struggle with implementing boundaries because they hate saying no to people, the trouble is, you’re already saying no, to yourself, ALL. OF. THE. TIME.

Many clients also...

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Goal Setting After Burnout

burnout Nov 16, 2022

It’s that time of year when your social feeds and emails are being filled with ideas for goals for next year. You need to have goals, set goals, and achieve goals and if you don’t, well you’re just not that great.

Chances are, if you’ve ever been burned out, you’re a high-achieving, goal-setting, goal-smashing guru. Or at least you used to be. Now, thinking about, creating, setting, and achieving goals seems like an impossible task. What’s more difficult to try and get your head around, is that without BIG goals, you’re not motivated, at all.  And when you’re not motivated you have no drive, and without your drive, you have no energy, and without your energy, you can’t get anything done. It’s like your MOJO is on permanent vacation in a place far, far away, and no matter what you do, you just can’t find it, and it’s not sending you a postcard anytime soon.

So, you need goals to...

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Feeling Like An Imposter

I’ve been getting a number of messages from women saying that the more senior they are becoming in their careers, the more they are starting to feel like an imposter. 

I can relate to this. 

When I got my seat at the table, that was when I really started to feel for the first time that I don’t belong. I started to doubt my abilities and whether I was good enough to be there. 

Much like the Spiderman quote ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’. 

It felt like that responsibility was too much to bear. It didn’t just feel like I had a responsibility for the role and in the organisation, it also felt like I had a responsibility for women, women my age (I was 30) and for young working mums (my sons were 10). I’d never had those feelings before, until I got that seat at the table. 

If we don’t tackle this feeling, we reach burnout. That’s where I got to. 

I didn’t have a big community of people...

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Core-Led Confidence

leadership wellbeing Sep 16, 2022

As we know core-led women do 3 things:

They know who they are deeply at the core

They set and maintain boundaries 

They take time for themselves 

In doing these 3 things they are empowered individuals and they empower those around them. Core-led women role model empowerment for themselves and others. In doing this we can change the world and the world of work. 

I am committed and passionate about creating a core-led woman revolution, where we will be ditching frameworks and coming out as our true core-led selves. 

I sat down at the weekend to do my annual reflections and my goal setting for next year. I feel really excited about everything I want to achieve over the next 12 months. But I also noticed that my confidence levels have increased and I have a lot less feeling of fear and apprehension. So I thought, does that mean my goals aren’t big enough? But I know from my core that these goals feel right. 

Back in 2014 when I was 33 I attended a women in...

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What I've Learned From The Last Three Weeks

burnout wellbeing Sep 09, 2022

I’m reflecting over the last 3 weeks that I took off. I do deep reflections at the beginning of every calendar year, then again around March, then September and I look at goals, what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, what I’m learning, where I want to be. But these last 3 weeks I’ve had some unexpected lessons. 

Let’s rewind to just over 3 weeks ago; I was looking forward to some downtime. I was thinking about taking time off social media and was in need of a digital detox. That was confirmed whilst I was scrolling through LinkedIn and seeing what only can be described as vileness. If you’re on LinkedIn I doubt you would have missed it, but there was this whole thing of the crying CEO. 

The CEO of HyperSocial posted a selfie of himself crying, talking about how he had to let some of his team go. I’d seen the original post and personally I wouldn’t have gone for the crying selfie, but actually what I took from it was that he...

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Goal Setting

leadership wellbeing Sep 02, 2022
I plan my year in quarters.
 
I have big annual goals and I break those down into smaller ones every 3 months. From those quarterly goals I work out what I need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis in order to achieve those goals.
 
2008 was the last year that I completed annual performance appraisals within the organisation I was working in.
 
I am deeply passionate about making things as simple and streamlined as possible. I genuinely believe annual goal setting is a thing of the past for so many reasons. Some companies still have 3-5 year strategies and annual goals, but if we look at the pace of change that is happening in our world today and in our workplace, we realise that it’s not as effective. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to have ideas and vision long term, but we have to look at what is going on in real time.
 
If the last couple of years has taught us anything it’s that we have no control...
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