From Burnout to Best Life
“I was highly paid, but I was miserable and my health was suffering. And as I have gotten older, happiness and health and wellness are so much more important to me. I was just miserable” says Lisa Hammett. “Life had no colour. I like to equate it as being devoid of colour. It’s just gray. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have a whole lot. Happiness helps you to just get up in the morning, and live your life to the best of your ability. When you get near or at burnout, you lose the capacity to dream. “
“The main culprit to this state of burnout? Chronic stress! “It starts small, I had slammed into a wall and I just, I could not continue one more day in the current situation that I was in. I had no mental capacity to continue in that realm. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I was at my heaviest weight, was very unhealthy. My relationship was strained with my spouse. “
Is there recovery? Yes there is! Lisa shares how it took years for her to get to where she is now.
“ You’re gonna learn so much about yourself that you didn’t even know was there.” “I learned so much about how my relationship with my mother. Way back in the day, I had a mother who was bipolar and, wow, how that really impacted my life”
“I exited a 26 year career at a high paying salary without an exit strategy. Which I don’t recommend in any way, shape, or form” Lisa shares.”
We all have life stories, If our story is unpleasant, oftentimes we bury those. And even if they’re pleasant, they can influence our lives. In being more aware, we are learning to be present and conscious of how we’re reacting to certain triggers. Understanding why you respond to things in certain ways and what you can learn from them is illuminating.
Triggers are those things that basically cause certain behaviours. If we are responding negatively, what’s the trigger? What’s causing that?
- What am I most passionate about?
- What are my skills?
- What are my core values?
- How do those all align to create this vision?
- Once you have the vision, then your why, why is that so important to you?
- Building in time for reflection. The global pandemic enabled Lisa to do a lot more self-reflection and to learn so much more about herself. That’s when she started the life coaching piece of her journey.
- It helps to connect with somebody who is skilled to recognise maybe where some fears are coming into play, and how you can move past those to create this future for yourself. It is baby steps.
- Having a strong support system can really help.
Lisa is an author, she’s a TED X speaker and a success coach who helps stress and burnt out business owners and executives develop mental fitness, manage stress and anxiety, and also get healthy.
Lisa’s book “From Burnout to Best Life, How To Take Charge of Your Health and Happiness” reached, bestseller status in 16 categories throughout the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
00:00:00 Paula: Welcome to “TesseTalks” with your host, Tesse Akpeki, and co-host me Paula Okonneh, where we share with you top leadership and management strategies. This has and continues to be a journey of discovery. We are learning that leadership is personal and professional. And we hope you will walk with us in this adventure. Today our guest is Lisa Hammett, and we will be talking about burnout and how to survive. But I’ll tell you a little bit about Lisa. Lisa is an author, she’s a TED X speaker and a success coach who helps stress and burnt out business owners and executives develop mental fitness, manage stress and anxiety, and also get healthy. After 26 years in the corporate retailing industry, she reached a burnout. So she left the corporate sector in 2005 and started her wellness journey losing 65 pounds. Since 2011, she’s been a health and wellness coach for a global wellness company, helping thousands of members create sustainable healthy habits, lose weight and maintain weight loss. In 2021, she completed an intensive global coaching program with “HPC”, which is “High Performing Coach”. And she’s currently working on her positive intelligence certification. She also has a book. She’s an author, as I said, and it’s called “From Burnout to Best Life, How To Take Charge of Your Health and Happiness”. And that is available on Amazon. Welcome Lisa to “TesseTalks”, we are thrilled to have you here.
00:01:56 Lisa: I am thrilled to be here. Thank you so much. This is exciting.
00:02:01 Tesse: Hi Lisa. I am so pleased to meet you. I was excited when I met you on the platform, on a different platform, and I said, we must have you, you’re gold. And I’m very curious because when I read your bio, I thought, wow, you’ve been on a journey. So what is success to you now? What would you consider success?
00:02:22 Lisa: Great question. Success to me is leading a happy, fulfilled life. And yes, there’s some financial component to it. But for so long I was working in an industry that I was highly paid, but I was miserable and my health was suffering. And as I have gotten older, happiness and health and wellness are so much more important to me. Because if you don’t have your health, you don’t have a whole lot. And you know, happiness helps you to just get up in the morning, and live your life to the best of your ability.
00:03:02 Tesse: I love it. I really do love it. Paula, what do you know? You have something that you want to know more about, don’t you? About Lisa?
00:03:10 Paula: Absolutely. So you talked about burnout. What is burnout? People define it in many different ways. So tell us more about it.
00:03:20 Lisa: They do. For me, it felt like I had hit a wall. Like I had slammed into a wall and I just, I could not continue one more day in the current situation that I was in. I had no mental capacity to continue in that realm. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I was at my heaviest weight, was very unhealthy. My relationship was strained with my spouse. And I was just miserable. Life had no color. I like to equate it as being devoid of color. It’s just gray.
00:03:57 Paula: Just gray. I mean that paints a very vivid picture. Tesse what do you think?
00:04:03 Tesse: Yeah, you know, as I’m listening to Lisa, as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking gray, no color sounds very heavy and very dark. What causes these things? What leads to these things Lisa? You said one day everything just came to a head. Getting there, what was that? What was that journey?
00:04:25 Lisa: So chronic stress is really the main contributor to burnout. And it starts small where you might have subtle symptoms like a slight headache or an escalated heart rate, or you might forget things. You know, we all lead busy lives and it’s easy to forget somebody’s name or forget something that we had intended to do for the day cause we didn’t write it down. Well, those although appear to be small problems, those can actually be side effects of stress. And as you build upon those, it can become chronic. And that is when the severe health problems come into play. Like the heart disease, the risk of stroke, the weight gain, the depression for a lot of people, and lack of self-worth. And it just builds over time to a point where you just can’t continue. And in my case, I exited a 26 year career at a high paying salary without an exit strategy. Which I don’t recommend in any way, shape, or form. But that’s why I’m so passionate about telling people about this, because if you can manage the stress before it gets to that bleak, awful place, then you’re less likely to make such a drastic decision that can be very difficult to overcome.
00:05:54 Paula: So obviously you were one of the successful ones, who you know was able to look at your life spiraling down and say, I need to do something. So what was that recovery like? I mean, is there any form of recovery? I mean, I’m listening to you and I’m thinking about myself. I’m thinking about so many people that probably can relate to that now, or could have related to that sometime ago. Is there a recovery?
00:06:20 Lisa: There is recovery. It just, if you get to burnout it can be long and painful and we often make drastic decisions. And in some instances it could be a divorce, you know. And I’m not saying you should stay married to somebody that it’s not a good situation, a healthy situation. But it could just become a drastic decision so that there’s no forethought in trying to reconcile before. The same about a job. It can just be difficult, but as far as the recovery, depending upon how far you go, clearly it could be more challenging. In my case, I started my health and wellness journey and I lost 65 pounds. It took me about a year to do so. And then I went into the direct selling space, and it was a good transition for me because I was scared to a hundred percent go out on my own. And direct selling enables you to have your own business but working for a parent company. So I had a lot of self-development and a lot of reflection, and that’s where I came to realize that health and happiness is so much more important than making a high salary. And that there’s just so much more to life and what I wanted. And I started to dream again, and then those dreams started to come to fruition. And it was an evolution. I mean it took years to really get to where I am. And really the pandemic, and I’m not trying to say it was a good thing for everybody, cause it certainly wasn’t. It was a very, very difficult place to be in and it still can be challenging. But for me it was so helpful that it enabled me to really do a lot more self-reflection and to learn so much more about myself. And that’s when I started the life coaching piece of it. And it just was the best thing I could have ever done. So long-winded answer Paula, but it’s a process and you know when you’re recovering from that, it’s really baby steps. You can’t just flip a switch and say, oh, my life is all wonderful. No, it takes a process. But having a strong support system can really help.
00:08:35 Tesse: Yes Lisa. I think that the people who can relate to your story, I definitely can. You know, I know that I. And for the same reasons working in the corporate world and having deadlines that when you achieve them it moves on, right? So that’s a familiar story. And with your book, I did go onto Amazon and see the headlines of your book, and what really struck me was “best life”. You know, the necessities of the best life. And I’m interested, and I’m sure our viewers are about, best life? What can we look towards or what would we be experiencing as we walk towards that best life?
00:09:17 Lisa: That’s a great question. Here’s the book, I actually have it for viewers. It walks you through a journey starting with creating a laser focused vision. And oftentimes when you get near or at burnout, you lose the capacity to dream. And it really starts with, okay, what is the vision? If I could do anything in life regardless of salary, training, just anything. What am I most passionate about? What are my skills? What are my core values? And how do those all align to create this vision? And then once you have the vision, then your why, why is that so important to you? My why, what drives me is having been in this situation, this burnout place like you Tesse. I don’t want anybody to get into that space. I mean it’s terrible. And if I can help just one person get out of that type of trajectory that they’re in, then I feel like this was worth it. So that’s kind of my passion. And then it moves onto, you know a happy, fulfilled life by what you put in your body, how you move your body, really kind of a holistic approach to health and wellness.
00:10:41 Tesse: That’s awesome. Paula, what comes to your mind? I think Lisa has really very practical things, very warm suggestions. The telltale signs, what becomes possible when you start taking better care of yourself. Paula, what comes to your mind?
00:10:58 Paula: Lisa, I love how you talk about the holistic approach. But you also said something that really stood out, which was, it takes time. It’s a process. So could you talk a little bit about the process? I mean, do we start by saying, you know, jotting down all the things you hate, for example. All the things you wanna change. Or do you go get a coach to help you? I mean, where does one start? Because as you mentioned, it’s a process, so it’s obviously not overnight.
00:11:25 Lisa: It is not, and absolutely if you can hire a coach, or talk to a therapist, or find a mentor, or talk to your pastor, somebody that you respect that can really help. I think the best thing is to find somebody who is objective. Our first thought is to go to maybe a close family member or friend, which is great for support, but they’re not always objective. And having somebody who is skilled to really recognize maybe where some fears are coming into play, and how you can move past those to create this future for yourself. So it’s baby steps. Yes it is talking to somebody, but I always like to say a good place to start is a good brain dump. And you know, just grab a piece of paper put it into those three columns, core values, passions, strengths, and just jot down what is coming to mind, walk away from it, come back. Because if you have not been really thinking along these lines for many, many years, it doesn’t come easily. It’s a process. So you have to accept that and just say it’s okay, and be kind to yourself. Because as humans, we tend to be our own worst critic. And that just creates an even bigger issue. So we need to be kind to ourselves and say, you know what? It’s okay, we got out of a difficult, difficult situation, and we’re doing our best to recover from this. And it’s a journey and embrace the journey along the way. You’re gonna learn so much about yourself that you didn’t even know was there. I mean, I learned so much about how my relationship with my mother. Way back in the day, I had a mother who was bipolar and, wow, how that really impacted my life. And I knew that she loved me, and it wasn’t that I had a horrible, horrible childhood. I didn’t. But you know, there were periods of when she shut me out that as a child was very difficult. So it created in me people pleasing tendencies, because I didn’t want to rock the boat and I wanted her to not just resort to shutting me out. So, you know, just kind of learning about these things that shaped you. And it may not even necessarily be a negative experience per se. It really is understanding why you respond to things in certain ways and what you can learn from them.
00:14:06 Paula: I love that answer. Learning why you respond to things in the way that you do. Yeah. I love the fact that, you know, you gave the steps like, you know, three columns, your core value, your passion, your strength. But what I love best Lisa, was be kind to yourself. Because that’s something that a lot of us struggle with. I spoke about this about two or three weeks. I called it head trash, and some people came back to me and said, wow, that’s a new word. But I’ve known that word for years. And you know, as I know you obviously do, that being unkind to yourself I think is more common than being kind. You know, we have to make an effort to be kind to ourselves. And don’t say that was dumb. How could you have said that? You know, you don’t know how to do that we telling ourselves that we, you know. I love it. I love it. I love it. Tesse?
00:14:59 Tesse: I’m listening to Lisa and can we relate Lisa to so much of what you’re saying. And what is coming into my mind is loving kindness. And the question that somebody asked me one day is that, would you speak to a friend the way you speak to yourself? And if the answer is no, then something’s gotta change. You know, I’m not often quiet, but I am now so reflective that I’ve gone quiet, and that’s because of how we have brought the voice into that towards your best life. And what I’m hearing is that it doesn’t have to be massive evolution. It doesn’t even have to be revolution. It’s just taking those baby steps towards being compassionate to yourself, being compassionate to others. And what I’m also hearing, which has touched me very deeply, is understanding your own context. Where your life story plays into your responses or your reactions to what is happening in a situation.
00:16:02 Lisa: Absolutely. I mean, we all have life stories, and you know, if they’re unpleasant, oftentimes we bury those. And even if they’re pleasant, they can influence our lives. So it’s just being aware, again, it’s learning to be present and to be aware of how we’re reacting to certain triggers. And triggers are those things that basically cause certain behaviors. And if we are responding negatively, what’s the trigger? What’s causing that? And learning from that and not going down that self-deprecating past saying, oh, I’m a terrible person. Oh, I have no willpower. Oh, I can’t do this. You know all that mind trash that we like to tell ourselves. No, we’re human and that’s okay. You know we all go through this. Nobody is perfect. We’re all imperfect beings. But being curious about it instead of self-deprecating. Being curious about it, saying, huh, this is interesting so why am I reacting this way? And when we take that time to pause, we can learn a lot.
00:17:13 Tesse: Ooh. Way deep and nice. This is good therapy. Paula?
00:17:28 Paula: Taking the time to pause. That’s what I was doing. Pausing and thinking deeply. Wow. Lisa, this has really been amazing. I love everything. And your book again, for our listeners. It’s called “From Burnout to Best Life, How To Take Charge of Your Health and Happiness”.
00:17:50 Lisa: Its available on Amazon, in Kendall and in paperback and in Barnes and Noble and other online distribution channels. So it is available right now. And in fact, I just reached last Thursday, bestseller status in 16 categories throughout the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. So I was pretty excited.
00:18:16 Tesse: Wow. Well done Lisa. Well done. Not surprised at all. Not surprised .
00:18:22 Lisa: Well, I have a really good publisher and she helped me with the marketing and everything. But yeah, I was very excited and proud of that, so.
00:18:30 Paula: Impressive. Impressive.
00:18:33 Lisa: Thank you.
00:18:33 Paula: Okay so to our amazing audience, you just heard our fantastic and amazing guest, Lisa Hammett. Thanks so much for tuning in. And for our listeners, please make sure that you head over to “Apple Podcast”, “Google Podcast”, “Spotify”, or anywhere else where you listen to podcasts and please click subscribe. And if you like what you just heard, write us a raving review. If you have questions or topics you’d like us to cover related to leadership or governance send us a note. And remember that note can be personal as well as professional. And last but not least, if you’d like to be a guest on our show, please head over to our website, which is “tesseakpeki.com/tessetalks” to apply. Lisa this was fantastic. Thank you.
00:19:27 Lisa: Thank you.
00:19:28 Tesse: Yeah, fantastic Lisa. Fantastic.
00:19:32 Lisa: I love the opportunity. Thank you.