Leah Steele, Founder of Searching for Serenity
Working with people to beat burnout, end exhaustion and create careers they crave
I was the classic overperformer – studying long and hard to become a fully qualified solicitor by the age of 28. Specialising in contentious probate, where recently bereaved clients were thrown into family disputes because they had money and someone else wanted it or vice versa, it was a very draining and highly demanding job. The funny thing is that I loved what I did for a living and I knew I was really good at it, but after a while it felt like being on a treadmill with no control over the speed dial.
Crying at home before the long commute became a daily occurrence and working a 12-hour shift was considered a ‘good day’ (no overtime). Exhausted and overworked, I was struggling with burnout. The health drinks I tried to pep myself up weren’t working and there was no magic solution button that was going to take any of it away.
In December 2014, in the run-up to Christmas, I worked 50 hours in four days to take a Friday off. I would do some shopping and attempt to relax. Later that evening, there was a knock on the door… it was a police officer, who informed me that my mum had been found dead at her home earlier that day. In complete shock, my brain split in two – half trying to be functional and the other falling apart. I picked up Jasper, mum’s dog, to live with me and did my best to go on as normal.
Just two-and-a-half weeks later, I was back at my desk but everything had changed; six months after losing mum, I’d quit my job. Working with a coach with the original intention of creating my own legal services business, we came to the conclusion that my future lay elsewhere… my destiny was to work with other people to avoid making the catastrophic mistakes I did.
Learning everything I could to become a burnout and resilience mentor, I’ve spent the past three years growing my business.
Today, with a strong base of professional clients all over the world; national media coverage across print, TV and radio; and my first corporate training gig on the horizon, I feel rejuvenated.