If I had known I could take care of my mind and if I had known things could get better I wouldn’t have quit my job after my burnout.
We admire those who show resilience and strong will. Particularly in position of leadership. I used to think that it was a sign of weakness if I needed help to manage my mental wellbeing. So I pushed through difficulties at work with determination and willpower. But I was not prepared for the most serious challenges, and ended up burning out.
I thought if I wasn’t mentally strong it was a reflection on my character.
I still fight that perception but today I know that mental strength is a skill that I can train for.
I exercise to build a stronger body but mostly to keep it healthy. I have tried many different sports. Swimming was my first passion, then running, bouldering, yoga, rope jumping, cycling, weight lifting and rowing. In my doctor ’s words, “the best activity is the one that fits your lifestyle and you can do consistently.”
I dealt with unmanaged stress, anxiety and obsessive thoughts for years. Eventually I decided to find a way to take care of my mind like I had with my body.
Just as with exercising I looked into a lot of different things. I explored neurology, CBT, metaphysics, nootropics, yoga, Buddhism. The list is long and I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Finally I landed on meditation and mindfulness.
Mindfulness resonated with me for many reasons,
- it is non-denominational,
- a personal and private practice,
- has a low barrier of entry (no equipment or club memberships),
- easily accessible (anytime, anywhere),
- effective (provided results in the short term),
- and scientifically sound.
Maybe I picked mindfulness because of it’s popularity in the Bay Area. Still mindfulness is the one practice that has had the most impact on my career. No doubt about it.
I exercise daily to keep my body in good health for as long as it is possible.
And just as well, I meditate daily to keep my mind in good health.
And avoid burnout.