Dee Burrowes: “Know your limitations”

I am a strong believer that success and happiness works in alignment with your mindset — which is one’s belief system that affects everything from your thought, action, emotion, and how you react to the world around you. As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dee Burrowes. Dee […]

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I am a strong believer that success and happiness works in alignment with your mindset — which is one’s belief system that affects everything from your thought, action, emotion, and how you react to the world around you.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dee Burrowes.

Dee Burrowes, Certified Professional Coach, NLP Practitioner, Speaker, Trained Teacher, International Awards Judge, Mental Health and Behavioural Disorder Coach help individuals to gain more confidence in being more effective at bringing happiness into your life. Through NLP and mindset modalities, I will support you to identify and eradicate the emotional pain points that hinders you in achieving balance, clarity, fulfillment and success — not only personally but professionally with forming good habits and rebuilding self-confidence. If your quest for life is authentic in achieving mental and physical wellbeing as part of your journey — I will put you in the driver’s seat.

Dee has held executive senior management roles in her corporate career and represented the United Kingdom at the International G20 summit.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Coming out of university after my first degree in Hospitality Management, I secured a very lucrative role in a well-known global hotel chain. After twelve years in the hotel industry at senior executive level, I then had a stint in the financial sector. I gained more skills and pivoted from a corporate career to a professional life and mental health coach for the last four years. When I began my career in a fast paced industry, I quickly learned that individuals took on more mentally than what actually meet the eyes. As a result they were never given the opportunity to live life authentically of being present emotionally, mentally and physically.

At the level of hierarchy I was privileged to have held, I led many individuals and my passion was to support them in their career aspirations as much as it was in my power to do. Shooting for the starts was always within me which transcend to the culture of my team and ultimately the organisation to an extent.

In hindsight, I knew I had a raging fire burning on the inside to be and do better as a human being and that aligns with my desire for personal excellence that eventually became a powerful driving force.

After successfully completing my MBA, I had many chances of direct introduction to the entrepreneurial environment that sealed the opportunity to delve into the world of entrepreneurship that birth my life coaching business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

As my career grew, I have had a few interesting stories that in fact turned into learning moments — satisfying to an extent and a few strong decisions made for the better. For me, it was taking chances when others thought it might be impossible to achieve specific life goals.

How difficult could it be to manage a hotel? It’s more than just folding towels and managing a diverse workforce right?

One of the most coveted positions to have had my name embellished within the hospitality industry. There is never a dull day and that came with its own challenges, varied encounters (some strange and isolated) and these experiences will last a lifetime. I have seen it all from meeting heads of state to having the odd female walking the corridors searching for what could be found in case she struck luck on any one night.

I was afforded the opportunity to connect with individuals from all walks of life as the nature of the business had daily checking in and out of guests globally. I’ve mastered the art at some point of how to thrive in a fast paced environment that is a 24 hour-a-day, 365 day-a-year non-stop operation which keeps anyone on their toes under emotional and physical tension as well.

Dealing with high maintenance guests, one may encounter a bit of a grumbling and are often at the receiving end of the ire that must be resolved very pleasantly and tactfully.

The sacrifice — time away from your family and friends that eventually had burnt out creeping in along with negative daily habits as a means of coping mechanisms if you aren’t careful. I had to keep healthy boundaries between personal and professional life when it could be squeezed in. Conscious efforts had to be made to actively strike a balanced life between both.

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re trapped in your career and to escape the office stress seems distance away — if this habit persist professional support might be your guiding light in the near future.

On a personal level, I have learned a lot of things — not having balance and setting healthy boundaries will no doubt result burn out as many can attest to or they are teetering on the edge. In fact some of these very lessons are continued to be relearned to this day — recovery and reinventing oneself is a constant process.

  • Know your limitations
  • Be selfish — take care of you first
  • Relax frequently — wake up daily and refuel your mind
  • Don’t Bring Work Home with You

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

At some point, making mistakes that can be learned from are bound to happen. Simply because finding solace in the fact that mistakes are completely human. From that perspective coupled with anxiety induced emotions mistakes are a part of life — the big questions is, what lessons can be had to avoid or minimize such mistakes in the future.

Earlier on in my career, I learned a valuable lesson when I under-communicated with another team member. It was an extremely busy morning at the front desk and the team was overwhelmed with both guests checking out and in simultaneously. Suddenly the system developed an error and as the front office manager on duty I had to report the fault to the external IT department to have the matter rectified. I returned to reception and decided to support the team with checking in a few guests in. I was assured that the manual vacant room list was up to date and all rooms already assigned were ticked off. As fate would have had it — that wasn’t never the case. I manually checked a guest (double booked the room without my knowledge) into a room and the guest immediately returned to reception informing that the room was already occupied and for your sanity I will exclude the brief encounter both guests had.

When I realized what had gone wrong, I profusely apologised to both guests and took responsibility by accepting the reality. I explained to the guests what had happened, they both respected my honesty and transparency and as such to inform that the guests were over compensated in true hospitality style would be an understatement.

I learned the value of communication even when it comes to be misinformed and why it’s paramount to establishing trust through admitting that a mistake was made.

Despite the cringe worthiness of mistakes and failures they eventually create a guidepost in learning and growing personally and professionally. It allows us to embrace shortcomings, failures and screw ups because they not only form a part of life’s experiences but also teaches profound powerful lessons.

In reflection, the mistake taught the following –

  • To accept fallibility and face our fear.
  • Teaches about oneself and how to tell the truth.
  • Focuses on a mindset shift
  • Not to confuse your mistake with who you are.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

“We don’t live and work in isolation, and when you can take advantage of the wisdom and even failings of those around you, the climb toward success is made that much easier.” — Carol Dacey-Charles

My truest source of inspiration came from innumerable amount of individuals that have supported along the journey. More so transitioning from corporate to starting a business. I have been encouraged, motivated and lifted to not giving up despite topsy turvy moments.

Even though I had quite a few supporters there was one person that pushed me out of my comfort zone all the time. I had a mentor for many years that taught me how to better navigate the challenges, empowered my personal development sphere, helped to identify and achieve personal goals.

I credit where I am now to my mentor and I am incredibly grateful for all of the time that was invested in me — one of my biggest cheerleader yet toughest critic and a forever sounding board.

As I share the story of when I was first starting up and attempting to grow a business, I was somewhat apprehensive as I thought I did not have what it takes and clearly underestimated myself. Through my mentor, I regained much needed confidence in executing systems and being retrained as a life coach and later on in NLP and Mental Health coach. I gave myself the extra push, disregarded any negativity from the naysayers and wholeheartedly believed in the person that I do see daily in the mirror and that was me. Patience is key as I continued to crush my goals and be proud of myself even on the cloudy days.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I came to the realization that in order to encourage healthy behaviors we will need to address and support both physical and mental wellness.

I am a strong believer that success and happiness works in alignment with your mindset — which is one’s belief system that affects everything from your thought, action, emotion, and how you react to the world around you.

A mindset shift also prime others to be more effective in learning from past experiences and adapting to change.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” — William Shakespeare.

Every day in my work as a mindset strategist and mental health coach, I support professionals and consult with companies that are deemed a cut above the rest however their workforce are not living a balanced and health lifestyle that directly impacted the scope of achieving optimum return on investment. I’ve observed over 10 years (combination of working in corporate and within my business) that there are critical factors behind generating sufficient productivity. Too often, this is linked to subconscious blocks and negative mindsets that are holding individuals back from being there authentic self.

My main focus has always been on supporting others in cultivating wellness and having a sound mental health that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Through emotional, psychological and implementing physical wellbeing individuals can experience balance by tailoring interests in creating an environment which prioritize their wellbeing in bettering themselves.

Emotional wellness is our own ability to accept, understand and successfully cope in dealing with obstacles life and work throws at us. Emotional wellness identifies how you are and why you’re feeling certain emotions — what emotions are surfacing as well as acknowledging and effectively channelling anger, fear, hope, love, happiness, frustration, sadness and stress.

Similarly physical wellness is administering proper care of the body for the most favourable functioning that also encompasses activity, exercise, diet and nutrition. Health and wellness supports improving wellbeing and support recovery from stress-related symptoms or trauma.

Encouraging development and maintaining a growth mindset can boost positive changes by increasing one’s propensity to remain determined, focused and motivated in the face of change. To achieve both personal and career goals, your mindset will have to match your aspirations otherwise there is a high chance of not moving purposefully and getting to where you want to be.

The current global crisis have impacted many detrimentally and still is with social distancing and different restrictions in place — anxiety and depression among individuals have skyrocketed. The fear is that not many know how to handle the feeling of uncertainty and distress. It continues to burden resources and the sudden isolation is unfamiliar to all and may not know how to reach out to others for support — this is where my expertise comes in as a driving force for accountability, inspiration and motivation

Nothing I enjoy more than having that wellbeing talk in bringing awareness to mental illness. Although there is significant stigma around mental or emotional wellness, it’s important within my practice to create an environment where others feel comfortable, safe without judgement to express and share how they feel. Improved psychological wellbeing can result in a reduction in stress, associated absences from work by being present as well as more positive with better outcomes for happier and healthier life.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

The path to wellness do have the tendency to feel more like a marathon, life can tend to be journeying through the hills which appear too high or the valleys too low and the need to reassess our focus is imminent. Implementing small wellbeing changes is one aspect that I incorporate within my daily habits for myself — from meditation, to journaling and exercising. As you make small yet effective tweaks in your lifestyle these changes eventually become habitual that will be noticeable in the long run. It will enhance your emotions with a renewed sense of hope.

The art of gratitude –

Gratitude is such a powerful emotion that can make life much better in more ways than one. Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness and a recognition that these sources of goodness exist outside of ourselves.

Over the last ten years or so, gratitude is something that I have become very fascinated with in my life — the practice of and decided to be intentional in appreciating what I have instead of what I do not have. My new found obsession led to stumbling across Robert Emmons’ work in recognising the benefits of positive emotions and confirms that the human mind is always craving something new and exciting. Practicing gratitude is a way to appreciate the value of something that needs to be practiced every day to be consistent with until it becomes a habit. Keep a gratitude journal to attract more positivity in your life by writing down the reason and why you’re grateful for the things you have.

Embrace self-love –

Do you tell yourself I love you? Do you smile when you look in the mirror?

Self-love can make a positive change in your life.

To love ourselves is to know ourselves and to recognise the full spectrum of our powers within. Self-love is the foundation of the single most important relationship with oneself. The strength of all other relationships lies exactly equal to the strength of that self-love foundation. Self-love always create an environment of liberty, and health where people can thrive, create and explore.

More of self-love is the right antidote for mental health and well-being — keeping depression and anxiety at bay. Learning to love yourself takes effort and acknowledgment, but its benefits are rewarding therefore embrace it in full throttle.

Live life on purpose –

What gives your life meaning? What should I do with my life — you ask? Your life purpose consist of the motivating aims and reasons why you get up out of bed. Purpose will guide your influence, shape goals, offers a sense of direction and know that your life has value and importance. Do your purpose allows commitment that serves both yourself and humanity in a positive manner.

Finding and living on purpose is key to having a fulfilling life and thus strive to support others by infusing purpose into their lives.

You can reflect upon your life purpose by asking:

Who am I?

Where do I belong?

When do I feel fulfilled?

Be physically active –

Maintaining your physical wellbeing is crucial to incorporate daily activities like walking, gardening, yoga, running, muscle relaxation exercise and biking. Moving your body slashes your risk of premature death and improve your overall mental health — any amount of physical movement you can squeeze in counts.

Regular exercise promotes positive attitude and outlook, supports falling asleep quicker and sleep more soundly as well as improving self-image and self-confidence.

Food affects mood –

Eating a well-balanced diet that is nutrient-rich can improve mood, increase energy levels and gives clearer thinking.

Can what you eat affect your wellbeing?

There is quite a strong correlation between diets and mental wellness as poor diets play a role in mood disorders such as anxiety or depression. Food is the fuel that fills the human brain even while sleeping the brain functions is at its best. Taking care of yourself and controlling your diet certainly counts as your spirits pick up, gives more energy and that’s an antidepressant in itself.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Happiness is a choice! It is an emotion that is deserved by all despite anxiety, stress and disappointment at times. Starting a Happiness Movement would be my ultimate passion. I realized that when individuals are happy they show up more and do live a fulfilled version of themselves amidst life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Be the happy change you want to see.

How does one sustain happiness in a world full of hate and negativity?

The movement would be a catalyst for change underlying wellbeing which will be experience as an emergence of positive psychology focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses, faults and mental ill health.

On a daily basis many are dodging hatred, resentment, bitterness, disappointment, jealousy that are being thrown into our minds, bodies and souls that eat away kindness, love, joy and peace. It’s time for a happiness movement. I need happiness — you need it, our neighbours, communities and the world beg for the constant infusion of happiness.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

I have had multiple evolution and stages within entrepreneurship journey — if I knew what I know now things would have been a bit more seamless.

  • Strategy over vision and mission — It took a while realising how powerful a great strategy could be. Execution of strategy is where the real playoff takes flight.
  • Mentors are not optional — I wish I had sought a mentor at the starting gates.
  • Critics will be your fuel — the naysayers will come in droves no matter who you are — let them be your perceived motivation in moving forward.
  • Have patience with the process — everything that is destined for you will come at the right time. In your pursuit for success — it will take time.
  • Don’t listen to everyone — Too many opinions will spoil the recipe literally and cause unnecessary doubt. Trust your gut feeling and deep purpose.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I found that individuals were having difficulty and overall poor experiences with these various topic areas. All causes do have significant importance personally however I am passionate about Mental Health and supporting the mission to living a balanced emotional and healthy life.

As mental health is stigmatized by society — it is highly associated with shame and being misunderstood. Like anything, once left unsupported and untreated the symptoms will unravel for the worse. I am the voice in advocating for those who are directly affected and removing any barriers that will deter any coping mechanism.

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