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  • Kelsea Koenreich

The Exhaustion Epidemic: Redefining Success for Leaders & CEOs

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

It’s Monday morning and your alarm goes off.

One of two things happen;

You either hit snooze even though you had the greatest of intentions to start a new morning routine for yourself or…

You peel yourself out of bed wondering why if you’ve just woken up you feel so exhausted.

Her Struggle: The Realities of Success

My client running a multi-million dollar business, and parenting 3 littles, never felt rested.

Even on the weekends, which were supposed to be restful and the time to be present with her kids, the mental load from parenting and working left her unable to be present.

Sundays had become anxiety-inducing because of what was coming the following week instead of an opportunity to recharge.

She was on a mission to find a break, while also feeling like a break would put her behind and the guilt would cripple her success.

The biggest problem is how common this really is.

Successful women everywhere are making millions and feeling physically, emotionally and mentally like absolute trash.

How does this even make sense?

Rethinking Our Approach

When you are constantly exhausted by your life and your work the ways you are handling it are usually by either over-caffeinating yourself, normalizing it as “just a part of it” and/or suppressing it and pretending like it doesn’t exist.

The things you are doing that don’t make you less exhausted:

1. Over-caffeinating. When you are tired, you drink coffee, and then you drink more coffee and then you really need to be able to be productive and on top of your game so…

MORE COFFEE. Now you are over-stimulated and your bloodstream is actually made of coffee.

2. Accepting things as the norm. When you realize that what you are doing is just part of the path you chose, being a founder, CEO or leader - “I did this to myself.”

“This is what you have to do to succeed.” Completely normalizing the reality that your bank account is growing as your quality of life is decreasing - is that success?

3. Suppressing our emotions and our reality. A classic for us as humans is to pretend what’s happening or how we feel isn’t real or will go away if we don't address it.

How’s shoving everything down and trying to push through working for you?

When you are exhausted, you likely need more sleep, a vacation where you don’t work and space where you get to turn off.

But none of that is happening if you don’t rewrite what success means and looks like to you.

Challenging the Norm

When you are in your last days and you look back on your life, will you be proud of how much you neglected yourself, your happiness or your relationships?

When people come together at your celebration of life, what will you want them to say about you?

Will it make you proud to only be known as the hardest worker in the room?

You can change the story, write new chapters and write a whole new book right now.

It takes courage to rewrite what success means to you, to come up with a new version that feels like it doesn’t match the one the generations before us would have said are successful.

But nothing changes if we don’t change.

Imagine if success was rewritten by you to where your internal accomplishments, happiness and fulfillment were more important that your external achievements and accolades?

As a leader, this is your wake up call - an alarm you can’t press snooze on.

True success is when you are overall trending up and out in all areas. Your happiness is increasing just as much as your net worth.

The New Morning Routine: Prioritizing Fulfillment for Success

Knowing that your fulfillment is a non-negotiable for your leadership and success, that snooze button isn’t an option anymore.

Neither is vacation time, space between meetings, attending too many events, or saying yes to things you want to say no to because you’re afraid.

You see, when you start prioritizing yourself at the same level you prioritize your business - something wonderful happens.

You have more peace, and you make more money.

And when you have more peace, you aren’t so exhausted.

Today I not only want you to rewrite your definition of success, I also want you to lay out and stick to a morning routine that includes NO business.

Reading, journaling, and movement with a SINGLE cup of coffee is my preference.

(Bonus: don’t touch your phone for the first hour of the day!)

Start your new path of success by re-committing to yourself, getting to bed earlier, and seeing how this flows into creating more balanced leadership.

My client committed to this morning routine and even with still working on her consistency during travel, her mood has elevated, she feels more clear and creative in the business and is on track to double her revenue from the year prior.

Exhaustion isn’t a badge of honor, it is keeping you from your true success.

1 Comment

Sarah Layton
Sarah Layton
Jul 06, 2023

So glad you made a few of the points I would have about the crazy amounts of caffeine and exhaustion not being a badge of honor!

I think women who are addicted to achievement chasing are especially susceptible to this toxic habit and an easy first step is to remember your golden rule of putting our capacity first. Thanks for the post!


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