She had recently heard about the 4-burner theory on life: work, family, friends, health…and quickly revealed that her work burner was boiling over, and had been for years. Family & friends got squeezed in, and were understanding of her demanding career, but health was sorely neglected.
She also knew that wasn’t a maintainable way to live. As a leader in her organization, her mental and physical health are the heart of her success, yet they’re the lowest items on her priority list.
I hear this story so often – successful, driven, professional women who are on the verge of burnout and ready to make a shift. There’s fear there (Can I still be successful? YES – probably even more so!); but more than fear, there’s a glimmer of hope…a tiny spark of belief that things can feel better.
That spark is the light that carries you forward. It gradually grows brighter as you take baby steps toward a different kind of life. After a few months, it’s bright enough to illuminate the new path…and that’s when most of us think our work is done. The truth is that’s where it begins again.
Once you hit the place of knowing the new choices you want to make, the work shifts. At that point, it becomes about maintaining. What do you do when you hit a bump in the road? What do you do when your progress goes in the wrong direction?
Come back to what lights you up. If you’re reading this and remembering that magic time when things seemed shiny and bright but are feeling very differently right now, think about what got you to the shiny, bright place. What choices did you make? Did you sleep more or eat differently? Were you reading at night instead of watching TV? Was there more connection with family and friends?
Start small (always start small!) and follow the light. Reconnect to that little spark as often as needed. Keep coming back to the things that light you up.