Around this time last year, I was totally exhausted; I had spent the last two years working 60-70 hours a week. I was often up at 5 a.m. with a cup of coffee in hand, answering emails, solving problems, and generally just getting stuff done before showering, taking the kids to school, and heading into the office.
Photo of woman via Shutterstock
After work, I would pick up the kids (barely before the extended care deadline), rush home to make dinner, and then sit down at the computer again until 10 p.m.
I would often skip my evening pilates class (which had previously gotten me into the best shape of my life) because I “needed” to work. A glass or two of wine would get me through my late night work and would help ward off the frustration of feeling like my life was my work. My husband warned me that I couldn't keep it up, but I refused to listen because I was on a natural high.
To be honest, I was addicted. It wasn’t the actual work I was addicted to. It was the feeling of accomplishing tasks, meeting goals, and getting stuff done. I measured my worth by how much I got done and my task mastering skills. But, at the end of the day, I felt empty and tired.
As a driven and independent female, I didn’t want to admit that I was burned out. However, I was engaging in all the typical behaviors of someone who's burned out: fatigued, not eating well, drinking too much wine, staying up too late, waking up too early, gaining weight, skipping exercise, and feeling irritable and impatient.
I was able to hide it well, pulling myself together to show the world that I could do and have it all. What a joke. What is the definition of “having it all” anyway? If that was having it all, then I really didn’t want anything.
Over the course of a few months, I asked my friend three different times to refer me to her therapist so I could get help with work/life balance. I conveniently kept losing the phone number, but honestly, it just never felt right. Until one day, I saw an article about life coaching and it hit me. I didn’t need a therapist, I needed a coach.
I had four sessions with my coach and it was literally life changing. I learned how to regain control of my life. I learned how to set better boundaries and leverage my strengths instead of depleting my energy. I learned to appreciate the gifts that others had to offer of instead of being frustrated with everything they might lack. I learned that change happens from the inside out, and if you don’t take care of a situation, it will likely repeat itself in some way later in your life.
Most importantly, I fell in love with the coaching process. The self-discovery, goal-setting, reframing perspective, and exploration of the future – I loved it all. I spent the last year on a journey from feeling burned out to becoming a badass. It wasn’t always easy and especially not always fun, but it was worth it. While today I feel like a badass, I realize that it's a journey and a daily choice.
I believe you have the potential to be in full control of your life, and that no matter what comes your way, you'll have the tools to handle it.
If you are not quite there yet, but have the desire, then here are a few tips to help you find your way:
1. Admit you are burned out.
You can’t solve the problem until you admit that there is one.
2. Commit to your values.
Define what is most important to you in your life. Write down your top five values and rate yourself on how well you are doing on a scale from 1-10.
3. Set and honor your boundaries.
Don’t sacrifice or compromise your values. What do you need to stop doing to help you move one notch closer to a 10 and honor your values?
4. Stop focusing on the external.
It’s not the job, weight, finances, etc. that are the problem. Even if you get rid of that obstacle, another one will come your way.
5. Start focusing on the internal.
What is really going on? What are you avoiding? Step into those difficult feelings and explore what is really getting in your way. Lean into the pain.
6. Build your confidence and learn more about the wonderful badass you are.
Take a StrengthsFinder or StandOut assessment and learn about all the wonderful things you bring to the table. Then watch how this shows up in your daily life and do more of that.
7. Uncover the "rules" you created that are holding you back.
We all have them – some sort of self-imposed beliefs that are limiting us from reaching our potential. You created them, so guess what? You can change them ANY time you want.
8. If you are really serious, then hire a badass coach.
Find someone who will help you honor yourself, your values, and hold you accountable to the badass you were meant to be.
I fully believe that every woman deserves to find her inner badass. Where are you in this journey? Your inner badass is just waiting to come out. What are you waiting for?
More from living