03 Mar Why burnout is often the wake-up call we need to make changes…
It’s ten years this month since I crashed and burnt-out in my career.
However, I look back now and see that it’s probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Horrible as it was, burnout was the wake-up call I needed to make some long-overdue changes.
On paper, I had what looked like a successful life and career. Co-founder and Director of a successful start-up. A beautiful home in a very desirable part of London. Money in the bank. Able to afford pretty much whatever I wanted – clothes, cars, holidays overseas.
And, yet, I wasn’t happy.
My ‘imposter’ gremlins were holding me back
I didn’t realise it at the time. But I was struggling with the belief that I was an impostor. All this apparent success – yet, I didn’t think I’d deserved it. I didn’t think I’d earned it. And my overarching fear was that this would be found out. That I would be exposed as a fraud.
This impacted everything.
My ‘imposter’ gremlins had me working all hours and never properly switching off. Weekends became about recovery time and yet more work. My social life dwindled away. I wouldn’t ask for help because I thought that would be seen as a sign of weakness. I would prioritise and over work and over deliver on what was in my comfort zone while shying away from stretch challenges that would have helped me to learn and grow. So, I kept struggling on through burnout and playing small; too scared to admit that I wasn’t coping. It started to affect my health, my relationships, my happiness and, ultimately, my performance.
I was fortunate. I negotiated an exit package from the business and was able to take a year out to reinvent myself.
Why has gender balance in leadership been so slow?
Around the same time, the government published the Davies report asking why weren’t there more women in leadership, given all the evidence that women were good for business.
What I now know is that many women struggle in the way that I did. Especially those in the typically male-dominated sectors such as wealth and finance. I believe it’s a major reason why progress in achieving gender balance within leadership has been much slower than expected. Women face a unique set of challenges, as they progress in their careers.
I feel very privileged that I’m now able to help these women, as a result of my own experiences and what I’ve learned over the last ten years.
It doesn’t need to be this way
So, if you’re a woman in the corporate sector and relate to what I’ve described here, I want you to know that it doesn’t need to be this way. There are tools and techniques to shift the ways of thinking that are holding you back.