6 High-Achievers on How They Deal With Burnout

“Sometimes sanity is just one ‘no’ away.”

Image courtesy of Flickr. 

It’s easy to look at a successful person and assume that they have it all together, but even industry leaders aren’t immune to burnout. Here, 6 successful people tell Thrive Global about the last time they felt burned out and how they overcame it.

Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of Reddit

From Ohanian’s Thrive Questionnaire 

“When I left Reddit in 2010. Our contracts had ended and I felt like the team was in a good place, so I left for Armenia and volunteered in Yerevan for Kiva for a few months. Had to get away from the tech bubble and nourish myself back home in the motherland.”

Rachel Zoe, Fashion Designer and Author 

From Zoe’s Thrive Questionnaire

“When I was a stylist and working 24 hours a day there was a point when I was completely exhausted….my life was 100% my work. I think I was burned out for most of my career without knowing it. Since I had children, I’ve become more aware of when I’m burned out. I try harder to take care of myself now and I try to remember to breathe.”

Wanda Holland Greene, Head of School at The Hamlin School

From Greene’s Thrive Questionnaire

“Two weeks ago, I looked at my mounting paperwork, my innumerable emails, and my schedule of meetings, and I couldn’t deal. So, I sent my amazing assistant Mary an email with the subject line ‘Drowning.’ We started canceling meetings and setting aside blocks of time for me to think, write, return calls, and to do my work. I still have many unanswered emails and tasks that are piling up, but I feel better. I am only one person, and there are many people requesting time with me. My dear friend Olivia (who is a psychologist) says, ‘Sometimes sanity is just one ‘no’ away.’ I can reclaim my space and sanity when I change previously scheduled commitments from ‘yes’ to ‘no.'”

Tamron Hall, Television Anchor

From Hall’s Thrive Questionnaire

“Right before the election, the TODAY show, anchoring on MSNBC Live, and in production for Season 5 of Deadline: Crime. In addition to that, I was doing a lot of events, including many events for my new fund to help victims of domestic violence. But I was overbooking myself and wasn’t able to give everything the attention it deserved.”

Daniel Boulud, Chef and Restaurant Owner

From Boulud’s Thrive Questionnaire

“It happens to me often after long trips. Sometimes I’ll have trips to Asia and I’ll come back in the middle of high season. And sometimes I won’t get enough sleep for two or three days. I’m quite blessed at work and I have an amazing team that supports me, and it’s easier with them. When I started my business I experienced a lot of burnout where I just exhausted myself and worked day and night. Especially in my business, it’s easy to work until midnight, but I try to maintain a healthy life and not push myself over the edge.”

Mike Posner, Grammy Nominated Singer 

From Posner’s Thrive Questionnaire

“Today! I’m blessed to have experienced some incredible events in my short life: achieving some level of notoriety and realizing that wasn’t going to solve my problems, being able to spend a week in total solitude with no human contact, learning to meditate, haphazardly studying philosophy, etc. Recently, I’ve been trying to share these experiences with as many people as possible: to cab drivers, strangers, friends, everyone. Sometimes I get exhausted from sharing but I’d rather be tired from sharing than energized from not.”

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