From Burnout to The Leaders Leader
by Jane Keep
Turn the clock back 16 years and you would find me lying in bed off sick for the first time in my working life, with burn-out, a number of acute medical illnesses and an exacerbation of a number of long term medical conditions and illnesses.
I had worked for 20 years in the NHS and Public sector and had worked myself to the ground. Work gave me satisfaction, and I also studied fervently to add more satisfaction – as despite the emotional rollercoaster that I was living as an anxious worrier prone to panic attacks, I always knew I could find satisfaction and so- called success at work.
Oddly enough from the outside, apart from that 6 weeks of being off work sick, I appeared to the world as though I was ‘successful’ since I was always offered promotions, pay rises, always passed exams first off, always had ‘jet setting’ type jobs or exciting work, often living in and out of hotels and travelling all over England and beyond. But looking back it was far from success – as my emotional, and physical wellbeing were broken, and, my relationships with those around me was pretty rocky too – I was moody, grumpy and cold, and I used copious amounts of chocolate and tea to keep me going.
Not long after that time I met Serge Benhayon – and attended a workshop, and ‘bam’, at this workshop this Modern Day Philosopher made so much sense.
And so I did – day by day, month by month, and year by year, choice by choice. I attended many Universal Medicine workshops and had the support of Universal Medicine practitioners too.
The results have been profound, markedly so. I am a living miracle and the way I work has changed immeasurably. In my mid fifties I no longer have any long term medical conditions, I am no longer burnt out, exhausted or depleted, in fact I am the opposite.
During this time as my well-being soared I also studied a PhD on “Developing self-care at work"
I may change the pace or type of work in years to come, but retirement is no longer on my radar – why retire from something that supports the body so much?
Nowadays I enjoy running a successful business, I am an associate at two universities, I also volunteer for 5 voluntary organisations. I can handle multiple projects, and feel confident in my work – I have my work ‘mojo’ very much in hand and can work in very intense, busy, and highly emotional environments with some of the most difficult interpersonal issues and feel joyful, and playful – with a spring in my step.
None of which is a false ‘happiness’ or ‘stiff upper lip’, I genuinely love work, love people, love supporting others, and feel great to boot! I’m early to bed and early to rise, and I work more than 5 days a week – often long hours – and yet I still remain buoyant and alive. My commitment and dedication to get things done is ever growing, and the sparkle is infectious as many others enjoy working with me and there is no sign of any chocolate or tea as I no longer need them to keep me going.
More specifically there are a few qualities that I now exude as I work – they were innate within me but deeply buried amidst my ailments and moodiness in the past. I can bring simplicity to the most complicated of situations, I bridge relationships from conflict to harmony, I bring order to chaos and have a radar for organisational ills and diseases where I can spot with a razor-like accuracy the root cause of many organisational symptoms. I am also willing to speak up and express what is needed and not stand by.
What I love the most is having a sense of purpose, and commitment, and knowing that the work I do is no longer about me and my own satisfaction, but it is about offering support to humanity, to local communities, to workplaces, and to share what I have learnt this last decade about the magic of work and life. I am also learning about responsibility and how nourishing this is. Not something I’d have said a decade ago, but nowadays responsibility is also part of my daily medicine.
All of this turnaround because I met an extraordinary man – Serge Benhayon – and attended Universal Medicine workshops. The truth of life, and that there is another way came to light, and I realised I had choices every moment of every day. I am more confident and empowered and contented than I have ever been. The inspiration I have felt is ever deepening, as is the appreciation of myself. The reflective mirror that I have been able to see, through the presentations of Serge Benhayon and the integrity that he lives consistently so, is pure gold. And through this I am an exemplary leader and an exemplary colleague, employee, volunteer and friend.