I Missed My Sister's Wedding Because of Work — Here’s How I Stopped Overworking and Overcame Burnout

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Eleanor Beaton10
April 15, 2024 at 6:7PM UTC

“I get it. Work comes first.”

I felt the blood drain from my face. This was my sister’s response when I told her that I was missing her wedding. The worst part? She was right.

At the time, I was working from a place of scarcity. My model of growth relied heavily on hustling and no matter how much I achieved, I never saw it as “enough”. For this reason, I couldn’t see a way out of all my travel and speaking commitments to make it to my sister’s wedding. 

To truly address the burnout I was experiencing, I needed to re-evaluate the way my work routine was structured. But since I was operating from a place of overwhelm, I didn’t have the capacity or energy to re-evaluate my business model.

My story is far from unique. Burnout can mean coming home to an empty fridge or piles of dishes but lacking the time or energy to do anything about it. It could mean continuously feeling guilty about missing your daughter’s netball matches but not knowing how to address it.

In recent years, I have reclaimed the expansive, possibility-fuelled and non-burnout-inducing way of taking action. Here’s what I did.

1. Get MORE than enough support.

For women to achieve great things at work, we need more support in all areas of our lives This means no longer simply accepting the invisible workload. To get this support, I suggest doing a “tolerance exercise”.

The first step here is writing up a list of the things you are currently tolerating in your life (such as a messy kitchen or an overflowing inbox). The next step is assessing how you can eliminate some of this from your plate. 

Can you afford to hire cleaning help? Can you have a family meeting and discuss your partner and children taking on more domestic responsibilities? Or perhaps, you can hire a virtual assistant to help with your email management?

Write a list of jobs and chores that you are simply “tolerating” and creatively think of ways you can reduce this load.

2. Work from a place of sufficiency.

In The Soul of Money, Lynn Twist writes that “scarcity is the belief that more is better, there is never enough, and that’s just the way it is.” For a long time, I operated from this mindset. I was constantly thinking about all of the “musts” and “shoulds.”

Only once I was able to stop focusing on the “musts” and “shoulds” and instead focus on reflection and creativity was I able to anchor myself as someone who already has enough. This means that I regularly remind myself that I am worthy — and regardless of whether or not I achieve my goals, I am still enough and I have enough.

3. Make friends with uncomfortable feelings.

Pursuing big goals means pushing your comfort zone. Along with this comes feelings of stress, anxiety and a fear of public failure. Instead of letting these feelings hold you back, embrace them. 

Every day, I check in with these feelings. Do I have fears around launching a new program? I try to visualize what the feeling looks like (where in my body is it? Is it warm or cold? Does it have a shape? A color?). Doing this allows me to feel the feeling, process it, accept the discomfort and move through it. 

4. Pay attention to your $10K hours.

Whether you’re working a corporate job or running a business, we all have certain tasks that add ridiculous amounts of value to our career growth. There are also tasks — like filling in spreadsheets — that just…don’t. To pursue big career goals, you should be paying close attention to what moves the needle (for instance, you might be great at motivating team members) while delegating tasks that aren’t high-value.

At the end of the day, if you want to achieve your big career goals, it’s important that you release the idea that you need to be the mom, wife, or woman who “does it all”. Instead, focus on freeing yourself of tasks so that you are able to work from a place of sufficiency and intention. Once you’re in this space, not only will your work become more enjoyable, but it will also be more sustainable for you in the long run.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for overcoming overwork? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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