Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, admired around the world for her empathetic style of leadership, resigned in January citing burnout.

She is not alone: nearly half of the women actively looking for a new employer in 2023 cite burnout as the main reason.

Not only burnout is bad for your health.

It’scatastrophic for your career.

When you’re exhausted or chronically stressed, you’re in the survival mode. You can’t think strategically. You can’t show up with leadership presence.

So whatever is burning you out is also keeping you from career advancement, visibility, impact, and recognition.

Through coaching hundreds of women managers and leaders over the years, I have identified 3 main factors that cause burnout: your job/workplace, your lifestyle, and your autopilot habits.

Unfortunately, not much one can do about toxic workplace, or boss. (If you have a team and tend to stress out a lot, or have a toxic boss, I’ve just posted an interesting post on LinkedIn.)

But the good news is that…

Two-thirds of the burnout equation is about you.

It’s self-inflicted.

Here’re the top 5 internal reasons that are causing you to burn out and how you can shift your experience:

1) Lack of self-awareness.

You don’t understand, and therefore don’t manage, the thoughts, emotions, beliefs and patterns that keep you stuck in the stress, overwhelm and burnout cycle.

Solution: work on raising your Emotional Intelligence level.

2) Lack of productivity. 

You work hard, and not smart.

 You operate from limiting beliefs about time and priorities.

You don’t have an effective time management system, aligned with your natural rhythm to enable you to be effortlessly productive.

Solution: Find an effective prioritisation system that works for you. Turn around your limiting beliefs about time.

3) Lack of energy management habits. 

You seldom take breaks.

You don’t unplug regularly.

You don’t exercise regularly.

You over-identify with your job.

You work weekends and evenings.

You don’t have a consistent self-care routine to replenish your cup.

You don’t have strong interests or passions outside work that add joy to your life.

Solution:  One can’t pour from an empty vessel. A car without fuel won’t get far. You’re not the Iron (wo)Man. Priortitise self-care.

4) Lack of self-connection.
You are self-critical.
You are hard on yourself.
You operate from “must” and “should”s.
You struggle with anxiety, guilt, self-judgement, perfectionism and imposter syndrome.

Solution: Start practicing self-compassion and turn around your negative self-talk (I teach the 3 MSC steps inside Elevate.)

5) Lack of boundaries.

You take things personally.

You are into people-pleasing.

You have hard time saying “No.”

You put your needs, goals and desires last.

You don’t have clear standards for how you engage with others.

Solution: Join Elevate!  Seriously, you need help. Women inside Elevate go from constantly chasing after work, feeling overstretched and chronically tired to feeling energized, confident, productive and leader-like.


So, to manage your stress levels better, to feel grounded and in charge of your life —

Don’t be the source of your stress.

Be mindful of how hard you are on yourself, and learn to be more self-compassionate.

Know your limitations.

Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and then choose to manage your workload smarter by delegating, empowering and coaching people around you for more help and support. No one can do it all alone.

Reach out for more info about Visionary Voices’ group coaching programmes, if you need further support.