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Ambitious, Successful, and Unfulfilled

Why so many professional women face career burnout

Let’s talk about career women for a second, they’ve done it all right, gotten that “dream job”, climbed the corporate ladder, and even landed a pretty sweet office with a view. These high-achieving women constantly receive the highest accolades from friends, colleagues, and bosses; they seem to have it all, but something just doesn’t feel right.

They have reached their career goals, but “success” feels empty.

Many ambitious women find themselves amongst like-minded females that have become doctors, lawyers, accountants, consultants, etc. They have reached their career goals, but “success” feels empty. Having invested tens of thousands of dollars and nearly a decade of their lives on their education and training, they feel guilty for being unfulfilled. Outsiders think these women are living the dream life; but they are unaware that so many professional women spend their days reminding themselves of the reasons they pursued their career, and all the things they love about their profession, but it still doesn’t seem to light a fire inside. They are afraid to walk away from everything they have worked so hard for, but they are feeling burnt out.

Professionals spend 50-100 hours per week performing or thinking about work. They spend more time working than they do with their friends and even family; but for some reason, they keep pushing themselves to progress in jobs they dislike. Why is that? The answer is that they are afraid; afraid to face the truth, afraid of finding a new path, or afraid of being viewed as a failure.

Ambitious women are so busy chasing “success” that somewhere along the way, they’ve lost their meaning of success itself. They find every Sunday slowly filling with anxiety in anticipation for Monday morning, as that gut-wrenching feeling screams that there must be more out there. Many professional females are feeling unfulfilled because their careers are unrelated to their passions. No matter how hard they try to love their job, it just doesn’t seem to feed their soul. The answer is simple, their careers are not aligned with their core values; without this connection, these high-performing women are feeling stuck in a career that is someone else’s dream. 

The good news is, what can be learned, can also be altered.

The truth is, most of these professional women didn’t get into their respective careers by their free will. They’ve actually been conditioned to be exactly where they are today. That’s right, this path has been imbedded in the mind of aspiring women from a young age. Family, teachers, and society, have encouraged them to get an education and pursue a successful career in order to have a “good life”. Mental conditioning has brainwashed ambitious women to believe that the meaning of “success” is to follow the status quo and travel down a traditional career path. We are all products of our mental conditioning, everything from our family lives, to the schools we attended, to the programs we watched, has helped shape the way we think, behave, react, and carry ourselves. Subconsciously, we’ve all followed a path that our surroundings created for us long ago. 

The good news is, what can be learned, can also be altered. The first step is to accept the unfulfillment and acknowledge that guilt is a result of mental conditioning, and is not a reflection of one’s capabilities. Change often ignites fear, a self-imposed emotion designed to protect us from the unknown. In reality, there is nothing to be afraid of, as professionals already possess all they need in order to be fulfilled and successful; in fact they have an arsenal of transferrable skills. They have dealt with difficult people, impossible deadlines, and high-pressure situations, all of which have helped develop an unparalleled work-ethic. Professional women spend a considerable amount of time solving complicated issues with little guidance, and push themselves to continuously grow and improve; they have developed unmatched skills and dexterities in their careers that will propel them forward in any path they choose.

Subconsciously, we’ve all followed a path that our surroundings created for us long ago. 

The key is to connect these skills with one’s core values and passions. Core values are the most important principles that mold your path in life. These could vary from a sense of freedom and flexibility, to making an impact on others, to having financial abundance. Core values are unique to each person and can be uncovered by doing deep introspective work and finding the principles that are of highest importance to an individual. When you pursue a path that is aligned with your passions and values, not only will you finally feel fulfilled, but you will thrive and never look back!

If you’re a high-achieving professional that is feeling burnt out in her career and is looking for direction with a deeper meaning – ask yourself the top three things that matter most in your life. Be honest. Begin by identifying your core values and start building a roadmap to achieve your ideal life with those values at the centre. Whether you pursue a new profession, new perspective or a whole new life – a year from now, you will thank yourself! 

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