Apr 24 / Rebecca Fleetwood Hession

A Play-by-Play on My Own Burnout

I’m sitting in a chair in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, drinking cold coffee, sobbing, and watching TikToks.

I pause and look over the last few days, reviewing and replaying my thoughts, moods, and actions.


I see it. I’m in stage 4 of burnout.

Ironically, this is happening while building a year-long solution for women to help them to ban burnout. The proverbial cobbler’s kid with no shoes.

So, I dry my tears and go find my shoes, my running shoes.

The patterns that feed the first three stages of burnout are so deep in our definition of success that it will take a generation or two to wipe it out. We’re all susceptible to it, even those that help people see it and deal with it.
Luckily, one of the foundational practices of thriving is reflection; to pause and observe yourself without judgment, looking for clues about who and how you are.

My Reflection Summary:

It’s been an unreasonably full month, my grandfather’s funeral, delivering the eulogy, helping my son find an apartment two states away, and building a massive product launch, on top of the regular clients, keynotes, and day-to-day life and work. I did my best to celebrate my birthday, but I’m tired in my heart, my mind, and in my body.
My thoughts had skewed to the negative, big time. That’s stage 2; cynical, thinking everything and everyone is stupid, ridiculous, no empathy, as the kids say, zero f*cks. It’s like the drunk uncle of being a victim; you’re not openly blaming others for your life; you’re secretly judging everyone in your own thoughts because you don’t like what’s happening in your life. It’s sneaky. And it smells terrible, like someone needs to take out the trash.

I hit rewind, reviewing my past conversations and even social media posts. Yup, there it was, subtle, but once I pause on a few conversations from the last few days, it’s pretty ick.

Then stage 3. I’ll just change who I am and what I care about. Just check out. I cried two nights ago, thinking maybe it was time to quit.

I have a promise to myself, I’ll do something else if a job isn’t fun anymore.

Sort of joking, sort of not, I text a friend and tell her I’m looking to marry a farmer that will let me quit working, just write books and raise mini cows and goats.

Yea, that seems reasonable after spending the last seven years building a business that is literally changing people’s lives. I’m not opposed to marrying a tall, handsome man with some land for mini cows and goats, that part sounds pretty good, but I don’t have to quit who I am to do that.

Stage 4, instead of doing anything that brings me joy or serves anyone, I’m sitting in a chair drinking cold coffee and sobbing, watching TikToks. Withdrawal, emptiness. Shit.

I grab my running shoes because, also, in my reflection, I recognize that I abandoned this simple act that brings me so much joy. And the movement of running jolts the stress out of your body, reducing cortisol levels and increasing those endorphins.
Forty-five minutes later, after a slow 3 miles through Africa on the Peloton with Spotify so loud it’s rattling the windows and drowning my singing, I’m smiling, even laughing to myself thinking about writing this post.

You don’t turn it around this quickly until you’ve done the years of work to understand yourself, your patterns, your desires, your gifts, and your talents. It’s the work of deep self-reflection that allows you to be your inner thrive guide.

I’ll need to be really intentional over the next few days to feed my soul. I’ve not had enough face-to-face connections recently. I’ve been working too much, too late. I know the patterns, and I know how to change them.

Now it’s up to me to choose to change. And I will choose to change because I also sat down and asked myself what I still love about my career and business. And there it was, the evidence; I’m still adding value, being relevant, and making an impact. And as God does, a client sends me an email at this exact time affirming all of that.

I love my clients. I love serving them. It’s the most me I’ve ever felt. And a reminder that the more passionate you are about your work, the more susceptible you are to burnout.

Tomorrow is church, brunch, and bubbles with my besties. This too, is the work of being a badass, knowing what you need, when and why you need it, and who you should be doing it with.

I want to help more than 1000 Women to be their own thrive guide: its life changing. And the more thriving women we have in this country, the more impact on our kids, careers, and communities.

Check it out here.
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