Yes. I cried in my boss’s car.
And yes, my boss was in the car too.
In the fall of 2006, I was subjected to one of those horrendous outdoor rope courses with my co-workers…all in the name of team building.
Ugh…I was already doing poorly and the thought of wrapping my thighs in ropes and falling backward into the ‘trusting arms’ of colleagues who I felt could care less about me filled me with dread.
Luckily, I had a doctor’s appointment the morning of the event and could save myself from at least two hours of this torture.
This was actually my second doctor’s appointment in two weeks.
I had been experiencing chest pain every day for two years and by this time in 2006, I had gone about 6 months with sleeping no more than 4 hours a night.
I had gained ~15 pounds from stress eating and over-working.
I constantly felt burdened and was not enjoying much of anything in my life, even though ‘I had it all.’
I engaged in long work binges – like 16 (and even a 20) hour binges.
After trying for several years to set small achievable goals (like peeing when I needed to, taking short walks, eating regular meals) and trying to ‘pull myself together,’ I was beyond tired, disconnected, distant, and doubtful.
And although my house was in disarray and my husband had removed himself emotionally because of my neglectful behavior, I was still a high performer at work…another promotion had rolled my way.
I reached out to a former boss who was in town for the ropes course to seek advice.
After the day’s event, we sat in her car to talk.
I shared 25% of what was really going on with me.
She shared a story about being frustrated with the work culture because she had to step out of her niece’s birthday party to participate in a conference call on a Saturday afternoon.
As the ugly cry streamed down my face, I realized how I was in a far different – and worse – place.
My former boss was upset because she felt her fun personal life was being interrupted by work demands. Totally sucks and totally normal – I get it.
I suddenly understood the disconnect between where I was and where she was.
I did not have a desire to participate in my niece’s birthday. I did not have the energy to go out with my friends. I did not want to go on vacation with my husband.
Everything and everyone felt like a burden and a heavy weight.
I wanted to run away and be by myself for 20 years and never come out of my cave.
This was how tired I was. This was how disconnected I was. This was how depleted I was.
This is how the worst form of burnout and chronic stress shows itself.
Less than two weeks after this day, I took a medical leave of absence.
Total surrender. Total deflation. (I’ll save more of this story for another time).
My wish is that you – a successful, career-minded, achiever-type, perfectionist, caring woman – never get to this point (and thankfully, none of my clients have!).
I’m happy to report that yes, I healed and it didn’t take 20 years in a cave.
I am still a really intense person, and I am also calm (most moments), content, and feel a deep sense of connection to myself, my partner, and nature.
I have work I love that keeps me intellectually stimulated and my heart fulfilled.
I know how to give myself a break without feeling guilty.
I don’t overextend myself or contribute to chaos.
And more importantly, I have a deep sense of ‘I’m OK’ no matter what happens.
How did I do this?
I didn’t go to a tropical island or leave my job.
Instead, I took 100% responsibility for my situation.
i stopped looking outside for my external conditions to change and looked within myself.
I satisfied the two conditions it takes to be free of chronic stress:
- a sustainable external environment (think a sustainable schedule and good enough relationships) +
- a compassionate internal environment (think not being so hard on yourself)
And you can create these two conditions in your life so you can enjoy life instead of always thinking about what’s next or what you should be doing.
I created a free video series to teach you how to stop overscheduling so you can be less rushed and more effective. 6 videos – all under 15 minutes – delivered to you over 2 weeks so you can have a sustainable schedule and space in your life to breathe.
You won’t hear lame advice like ‘just take 5 minutes for yourself’ or ‘make sure to get 8 hours of sleep’ or ‘leave work at work.’
Instead, you’ll receive real-deal content that is strategically and organically designed to shift from a HUMAN DOING to a HUMAN BEING.
It requires no goal setting or striving. But it does require a willing heart.
Watch the video to learn the 3 REAL reasons women overschedule and how I can help:
You’ll restore a connection with yourself so you can have a sustainable pace and enjoy your life, even if you have a ton of responsibility.
Sign up below, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side (and hopefully not crying in your boss’s car!).