There’s an internal battle I’ve been fighting for about 10 years, it’s been one of identity, and I believe it’s been the biggest contributor to my recent burnout.
On a personal level, I’ve confidently known who I am, what I stand for, what I’m about, and how I work for some time.
But on a professional level? I’ve really struggled.
I trained as a makeup artist shortly after coming out of rehab in 2010.
Makeup artistry became my escapism in which I could safely play in, and then building a hair and makeup business gave me a way to re-channel all that energy (that I had previously used to destroy myself) to rebuild myself.
It was all wonderful for many years; I rebuilt my confidence in myself and my abilities, my work brought new and inspiring people into my life, it took me to exciting places, and I really felt like I was living the dream.
I had reinvented myself from the broken girl that walked into The Priory at the end of 2009 and it was awesome.
But then it stopped working for me.
Or maybe I stopped working for it.
What energised and lit me up soon began doing the opposite.
It all started to feel like a struggle.
And instead of pausing to reassess, I did the opposite.
I ramped up pace, I pushed harder.
My focus moved away from the things that I enjoyed and towards money and status.
I craved growth and progress and thought this was the path I had to take in order to feed that need.
But neither money nor status, are really high on my values (‘core values’ was something I was not aware of at the time or in my vocabulary)
And so guess what? I felt dissatisfied.
Again, at this point, I should have paused to reflect and reassess.
But I simply interpreted it as I wasn’t doing enough.
So what did I do?
Yup, I ramped up pace again, and I pushed even harder.
I’m sure you can see where this story is going.
I hit a pretty low point in 2018. It brought myself, and the direction of not only my career but my whole life into question.
Because while plugging away at my career and business over the years, I neglected nearly all other areas of my life.
I struggled to make time to see friends and family, and when I did all I could do was talk about work; which got old and boring for them very quickly.
All my actions had to relate to business in some way otherwise I believed it to be a “waste of time.”
Everything I read, watched, and listened to was related to work.
And I viewed the world around me through a business-based lens.
It was all-consuming and somewhat of an obsession and addiction.
So when my career wasn’t working for me it became existential, because I had very little else to fall back on.
Who was I without my business?
What worth did I have if I wasn’t making money and growing the company?
While 2018 prompted (or rather forced) me to reconnect with myself, my values, and my mission in life; my career-based identity struggle didn’t end there.
I spent 2019 to 2022 trying desperately to move forward with my passion and purpose, but with one foot seemingly welded in the past.
I couldn’t shake the label of a ‘makeup artist.’
Not only because it was what I was known for by so many people but because I over-identified with it myself.
I felt so much guilt and shame moving on from it.
Because on a subconscious level, I felt I was being ungrateful and discarding something that essentially saved my life back in 2010.
I believed that on a subconscious level, my life would fall apart again if I let it go.
And every time I tried to let it go it triggered all the old feelings of unworthiness and helplessness I felt before finding it.
I’m normally good at connecting the dots but this one has taken me years to work out, and essentially work through.
It seems like such a simple connection to make, one I could have easily seen for someone else, but it’s always harder for us to see our own blindspots eh?
My word for 2023 was ‘HEAL’ – which took me by surprise when it popped into my head on January 1st – What on earth did I need to heal from? I thought.
Well, now I know.
This story, and all the work and research that has accompanied it, inspired my latest keynote ‘Blurred Lines & Burnout’ and ‘Reflect & Reconnect’ workshop.
And it is what has led me to launch my retreats.
The Wiltshire countryside has given me the space I very much needed to reflect and reconnect.
It has allowed me to join the dots and break through on something that has been holding me back for so many years.
It has set me free.
And I hope you’ll join me in the countryside one weekend so the same can happen for you.
Lots of love,