Introduction Chapter


The Modern Hero’s Journey—from Burnout to Balance

Have you ever been so chronically tired that you just can’t seem to think straight? Your emotions are all over the map, and you get easily upset? Or you feel resentful, jealous, maybe even angry with the people in your life? Do you feel overwhelmed most of the time? Weighed down with stress, overcommitted, spread too thin? Have you ever experienced random aches and pains, suffered from inexplicable weight loss or gain, or gotten sick far too often? You try to think positively, but you just can’t seem to get out of the funk. You are burned out. And it’s time to take care of yourself.

I know this place well. I was in chronic burnout mode all of 2010. Moody, anxious, frazzled, filled with self-doubt. In this state, your mind shuts off. You are going through the motions, doing what’s expected of you, and not fully experiencing life. I knew this wasn’t the way I wanted to live, but I was too tired to fix it. The only solution I knew was to work harder—I didn’t know a way out. Since my mind wasn’t in the right place, I listened to the needs and wants of everyone else. It was as if I was living my life on autopilot. It took a major wake-up call to snap me out of it. Life was meant for so much more than eat, sleep, work, repeat.

My breakthrough moment is a vivid memory. It was the end of 2011, and I collapsed on my San Francisco studio floor. I was exhausted. I had the career I thought I wanted, yet I had wrecked my life in the process. I was a mental, emotional, and physical mess with no energy left to live my life.

I spent my days working. In the evenings I rested. That was about it. Work. Rest. Work. Rest. I didn’t have energy for anything else. While on the outside it looked like I had it together, inside I was falling apart. It wasn’t rock bottom—I had many things in my life to be grateful for. But I was too tired to appreciate them and felt completely disconnected from myself and my world. I was seeking love and self-worth through my work. The unfortunate part was that work didn’t love me back.

Don’t get me wrong: I did this to myself. When I was fifteen, my big dream was to become “America’s next top fitness instructor.” I worked endlessly to climb the ladder, to build my brand, to look the part, and to fit in the box of what was seen as successful. I hustled hard, put myself last, and did what I thought I had to do to succeed. I was good at my job and loved helping others but was putting the rest of my life on hold and hurting myself in the process. I didn’t know my own worth, didn’t love myself, and was looking for love everywhere else. The truth is that helping others and being a career success doesn’t help you love yourself. You’ve got to love yourself first.

I knew I was at a crossroads. I had a choice: continue to do what wasn’t working or change my life. I made a choice and paused everything. It was time to face the truth, get real, and restart. I had built a career based on what I thought the world wanted, but what did I want for myself? I started from the foundation: Learn to love yourself. Then I rebuilt my life based on my own definition of success.

That moment was the catalyst that catapulted my life in a different direction. I declared 2012 as the “Year of Self-Love” and every day chose to take action toward loving myself from within. It was scary at first. I didn’t know how to start. So I hired coaches, read books, and created vision boards. I made time for my physical health through consistent workouts, nourishing meals, and rest. I invested in myself and went back to school to become a health and wellness coach. A lot can happen when you want it to. I healed through self-discovery, self-love, and living life according to my own vision of success and how I wanted to positively impact the world.

One thing I know for sure: learning to love yourself will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But you’re worth it—so worth it. And you can change your world.

Through this process, I got my life back. I gained balance, confidence, energy, strength, and health. From this authentic, grounded place I became a success and my career followed. (Yes, imagine how that works!) The cliché is true: Self-love is the number one key to success.

Making a living is not the same as making a life. I’m proud of myself for working hard to build happiness in both.

My story is not uncommon. In fact, in today’s world it’s starting to become the norm. We love the idea of others loving us, and we forget to love ourselves. We look for love outside ourselves through our career accomplishments, relationships, achievements, fitness, clothes, and material items. But no amount of success, fame, or love from someone else can fill a void created by a lack of self-love. Love is an inside job, and in order to receive it we have to already have it within.

It’s time to learn to be your own best friend instead of falling into the trap of being your own worst enemy. Are you ready to be your number one priority and take action in living a life you love? Wellness is something that you deserve to have in your life. It is something worth working for every day and enables you to live fully. Nothing is worth it if you aren’t happy or healthy. You were given this one life to live it, and your health and happiness are priceless. 

Have you ever lost your balance? Do you struggle to juggle the important priorities in your life? Have you ever lost your sense of self while working to accomplish your goals? Do you have a hard time putting yourself first or practicing self-care? Did you have a breakthrough, or are you looking to have one now?

This book holds the tools I used to transform my life, to help you take care of yourself so you can be a success inside and out. If you want to value your life, you have to be willing to fight for your health and happiness. Are you ready to have a breakthrough? Are you ready to work hard for you?

Our world provides plenty of signals telling us to push harder and climb higher up the ladder, but there are almost no signals reminding us to stay connected to who we are, to take care of ourselves, and to lead fulfilling lives. I want to be that voice that empowers you: Live this life for you. Create your world according to your own definition of success and thrive with more health, more joy, more love, and more gratitude.

It was a great blessing to hit burnout; that moment was a wake-up call that forever changed my course. It led me back to myself and opened my eyes to a new way of life. It connected me to my purpose: to be the change and empower a healthier, happier planet.

Right now you may feel busy, stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I’ve been there and know exactly how you feel! But if you want to have a breakthrough, you have to make time for yourself. This book will help guide you to do just that.

Here’s our plan of action to enable you to beat burnout and find balance: Chapter 1 is an essential step that will help you better understand who you are, know what you want, and define a clear wellness vision. It will take you step by step through creating a personalized action plan to get you where you want to go and to aid you in realizing your greatest potential. I’m inviting you to get honest, get specific, and take back control of your life. The Body, Mind, and Spirit sections (chapters 2 through 11) are full of resources, strategies, and tools that help you achieve your wellness vision and the goals you set in chapter 1. The resources from each chapter can be used individually or together to help you accomplish the thriving life your heart desires. Think of it like a lifestyle buffet: you fill your plate with the suggestions and strategies that work for you. It might sound like a lot of work right now, but don’t worry—I’ll be your coach through the process, asking you questions and guiding you to continue to customize your lifestyle based on your wants and needs. What you read here and what you choose to do with it can help you beat burnout by personalizing your approach to living well and empowering you to take real action toward achieving your vision of life success.

Living a balanced life is an evolving process and a constant work in progress. Remember to give yourself permission to move at your own pace. What matters most is that you commit to making time for yourself and taking intentional, consistent actions toward your goals. You can’t do this without you. You are the hero of your story, and I’m here to support you 110 percent. It won’t be easy, and it won’t transpire overnight, but it is possible. The process begins when you decide that there has to be a better way to live and that you deserve to discover it.

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