In the lead-up to Thrive Global’s launch, our team spoke with people all over the world about how they were redefining success in their lives. There was one story we kept hearing — especially from women. It goes something like this: “I thought I was succeeding, but mostly because everybody else thought I was. But I was miserable, stressed all the time, and burned out. I realized I wasn’t truly succeeding because I wasn’t living the kind of life I actually wanted.”
To get a sense of how widespread this kind of wake-up call was, we put out a call to thousands of women across the world asking for stories from those who had walked away from the traditional path they — or society — thought they should pursue to find fulfillment elsewhere. We were overwhelmed by the response — and by how many of these wake-up call moments were physical: stories of developing chronic illnesses, auto-immune conditions, collapsing on the trading floor of financial institutions, premature labors caused by stress, sleepless nights that turned into sleepless weeks, being unable to go to bed without clutching a phone, breakouts of rashes and hives, feelings of utter dread, agony and nausea on Sundays. The list goes on.
So we’ve partnered with NowThis to present Turning Points, a collection of firsthand accounts from women about their experiences with burnout — including what their wake-up call moments were, advice they wish they had gotten before the scales tipped too far, and how they recalibrated their lives to find a version of success that does come with health and fulfillment. The four women featured in the first set of Turning Points videos talk about leaving behind the worlds of corporate America, fashion, PR, and finance to pursue lives in which their well-being was not an afterthought.
We know redefining success in the face of burnout is different for everyone. For Melanie Vangopoulos, it wasn’t about changing careers, it was about changing her mindset. For Sara Zambrelli, it was about shedding the expectations of those around her. For Angelina Darrisaw, pictured above, it was about realizing she no longer wanted to live what felt like a double life. For Gabby Bernstein, it was hitting rock bottom and realizing she was a shell of the person she wanted to be.
We hope this series will deepen the conversation around the particular issues women face when presented with the challenge of integrating their personal and professional lives. And in our effort to shift our culture away from the “sleep when I’m dead” mentality, which, quite frankly, works for no one, it’s important to shine a light on both men and women who are actively modeling new and different behaviors.
You can watch the Turning Points trailer below and read more wake-up call stories in our dedicated Turning Points section. But we also want to hear from you: Have you experienced burnout? Have you had a wake-up call moment? What was it? Share your story with us and the Thrive community below in text or video or on social media using #myturningpoint. We’ll be filming our second set of videos this month featuring more Thrive Global community members. We’d love for you to be one of them.