Recovering From Corporate Burnout: My Story, Part 3

by Sep 17, 2017

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Feeling stressed, depressed, anxious or dreaming of quitting your job to live on the beach? You could be showing signs of corporate burnout.

This is post three of a three post series on my recovery – from the early signs of corporate burnout to full on depression and back to health and happiness. You might want to read Part I and Part II first.

PART III: LIFE WITHOUT FEAR

The last time I jumped back into consulting, I made better decisions.

I had to.

I’d just moved across country and bought a home in Savannah, Georgia (where I didn’t know anyone).

  • I decided I was starting a business, not just grabbing onto work thrown my way.
  • I decided I was worth investing in, and I found the training and resources I needed.
  • I decided to focus on who I wanted to serve, instead of chasing clients who were looking for a one-off project at the lowest price.
  • I decided I was going to be successful and I would do whatever it takes.

This was pivotal for me, and where things really started to click into place. My life got exponentially better.

Looking back at my last few years working that corporate “dream job,” my default mode was panic.

I awoke each morning with fear, dread, and deep unhappiness.

It was exhausting.

Burnout – emotional and physical – had taken a huge toll on my well being.

In the years following my quitting, I strove for better and better.

Finally, I’m here, living a life that brings me joy, and fills me with gratitude.

Now when I wake up, I’m excited and greet the day with questions like: “What do I get to do today?” or “Who do I get to help?”

I’ve built my life around the right choices for me, so I’m full of energy to use to serve others.

I’ve since left Savannah to travel, and even recently put my house on the market. I’ve pivoted my business to focus on coaching and education over consulting, so I can serve more people.

I’m building a business where I get to work with my type of people: entrepreneurial, creative, and non-traditional. I’ve found my tribe, one where “that’s just how it’s always been done” is never the answer.

But the biggest change is that I’ve nearly eliminated fear from my life.

Fear of what “might” happen, fear of judgement from others, fear that others’ actions can invalidate my worth, fear that I’m “less than,” fear that someone won’t like me, fear of dying alone and being eaten by cats…

Okay, that one still pops up occasionally, but hey – progress not perfection.

In practice, this has meant cutting negative people out of my life, and prioritizing myself.

  • It’s meant recognizing what serves me, and what doesn’t.
  • It’s meant knowing just because someone doesn’t want to date me, or fund me, or work with me, doesn’t mean I’m worthless. Or even uncool. Although really, I am kind of uncool. And I’m okay with that.
  • It’s meant not taking things personally, and knowing that someone else’s actions usually don’t reflect on me.
  • It’s meant quitting really cool travel programs because it’s interfering with my business.

And I’m okay with all of these things because I feel aligned with my heart. Heart leads head.

In this new life, there is more positivity, and there aren’t many big deals anymore.

Compared to when I first started showing signs of corporate burnout – when EVERYTHING was a big deal & reasons to be upset – this is a HUGE deal

There are occasionally big deals in life, of course, but I almost never choose to get bent out of shape or suffer anymore.

Instead of focusing on fear, I focus on the positive or the productive.

I frame the world as a place where people are good, and I live better for it. When terrorists attacked Barcelona’s Las Ramblas in August 2017 – an area I walked by multiple times every day that week – it could have been easy to fixate on the one cruel person who inflicted so much suffering. On the cruelty of the world we live in.

Instead of doing so, I found it better to follow Mr. Rogers’ advice and “look for the helpers.” I focused my energy on the 1,000’s of people who showed up to help, to support, to radiate goodness.

When we look at the world this way, it’s brimming with kindness, not one to inhabit in fear.

I wake up happy most days.

Even days that are hard, I’m able to find the good. To make a little progress.

These days, I typically don’t work more than 30 hours a week on average. I work with my body clock, not an arbitrary 9-to-5. I focus on maximizing what I’m good at, and I look for help where I’m not.

As I follow the path the universe lays out before me, I’m rewarded with incredible experiences and opportunities to build my tribe. I run into fellow traveler who guide my along my journey, and I help them along with theirs.

This is my life now, and I’ve designed it in a way that works for me.

Scary things may come my way, but I’m equipped with gratitude, heart, tribe, and passion. What more could a girl ask for?

Everything I do is with the intention of supporting other people in their desire to change their life or business. I get to serve others and watch them grow.

And it’s simply amazing.

If you’re finding yourself dreaming about quitting your job, are anxious or bitter and dread getting out of bed to go to work, you could be showing signs of corporate burnout, which puts you at a greater risk for stress-related illness – it’s not a terrible idea to consult a licensed clinician to for help.

This is part three of a three part series. See Part I and Part II for more info on how I went from burnout and addiction to six-figure entrepreneurship.

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Hi, I’m Kate

Hey, I’m Kate! I’m a designer, digital nomad and founder of Six Figure Freelancers – I love to help talented tech pros start businesses.

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