"We dont need to wait for something terrible to happen to us before we build resilience. It is possible to proactively build resilience and we do this by nourishing different elements of ourselves."
A Lancashire-born ex-Financial Services Director has bravely shared her own story of hitting burnout. Deborah Bulcock, 46, who now lives in the hamlet of Sough, Pendle in Lancashire, consistently worked 60+ hours per week, but after hitting burnout, she had the courage to pivot from her successful career to embark on a new path to become a registered nutritional therapist, coach and mentor to help guide and support others. This week, she is celebrating becoming a global bestseller author on the Amazon book charts after the release of her debut book ‘Have it All Without Burning Out’ became a bestseller within hours of its release.
The book, which acts as a guide to help others successfully manage work, life and success whilst avoiding burnout –went straight in at Number 1 on the Amazon bestseller charts in Occupational & Organisational Psychology, Psychology and Educational Training and Experimental Psychology.
As a Director in the fast-paced male dominated Financial Services industry, Deborah was constantly working to perform and prove herself– she would frequently work 60-70 hours per week when she was based in Northampton and this continued as she relocated to a new senior role in Manchester, Deborah Bulcock said: “I began my career in the financial services industry, where I was fast-tracked to director level. With two business degrees, boundless energy and bundles of ambition, success came quickly.” Deborah excelled at work in her 20s with consistent glowing appraisals, promotions in quick succession and at the age of 27 she was the youngest person to reach the management grade she was at in the history of the company at the time. Deborah reminisces: “It did however raise a few eyebrows and put me firmly in the spotlight.”
After years of performing at the height of her ability, working long hours, constantly proving her worth and not having the right support structures or balance in her life… she hit rock bottom and experienced the full force of burnout. Within the book, Deborah describes this point in her life as ‘having nothing left in the tank’ – she would only have energy for work, would constantly be wearing a false mask of “all is OK” , but deep down she was suffering with extreme fatigue and ill-health, and longed for the weekend – not to party as many other 20/30 something’s were doing – but to recover, sleep and give her brain a rest.
It was February 2012 when Deborah felt the full force of burnout, she found herself paralysed by something, unable and unwilling to move from her bottom step of her home stairs. Deborah recalls the exact moment that changed everything: “I’m sat at the bottom of the stairs, elbows on my knees and head in my hands, tears flowing. I’ve just come through the door from work and my tank is well and truly empty. I’m exhausted and emotionally spent, more than I’ve ever known. I hurt everywhere; it even feels like my bones are aching. My mind is numb, no longer flowing with all the questions that I’ve been asking myself for some time. What’s wrong with me? Why does everything hurt so much? Why is this happening to me? I’m done. I can’t carry on. I don’t even know how to take the next step – literally – I can’t get up the stairs.” She knew that she had to do something as the thought of continuing on like this was unbearable… after many visits to the doctors, Deborah decided to pay for private medical tests, examinations and natural health therapists and found a number of issues that needed addressing. The main issue being the way that she was living life, constantly pushing on through and neglecting any form of rest and recuperation.
Deborah said: “This point was my awakening – I knew I had to take control and look at how I was nourishing my body and mind, along with how I was choosing to live my life. There have been lots of twists and turns as I have navigated this new way of living. I found new things, discarded some and kept going until I found the point of ‘this is it – this is what I want’. I now let my intuition guide me rather than being overly-analytical and ‘corporate’ – and that is so refreshing! Just like I did, it’s so important that we all tune in to what’s right for us – what works for your partner, friend, family member, colleague, celebrity… might not be the right avenue for you - understanding yourself is key to avoiding burnout.”
As part of taking control of her own health and wellbeing, Deborah decided to go part-time in her senior role and went back to college in Manchester to study to become a registered nutritional therapist – this took three years and in 2015 she graduated and her new career path was born. This is when Deborah also decided to move out of her city centre pad and relocate back to the country and found a house in the small hamlet she was born, Sough.
Deborah went fully self-employed in 2018 to continue her mission to help others thrive in work and life - she helps them to get to the root cause, cut through the noise and work out what’s right for them, enabling them to take action and maintain momentum - to have it all without burning out. Deborah continues: “One thing that I say to all my clients is that we don’t need to wait for something terrible or dramatic to happen to us before we build resilience. It is absolutely possible to proactively build resilience and we do this by nourishing different elements of ourselves and our surroundings – in simple and easy ways.
“Helping others to thrive in work and life is my passion and coaching is at the heart of everything I do”.
Deborah’s best-selling book ‘Have it All Without Burning Out’ acts as a guide to help others successfully managing work, life and success whilst avoiding burnout. The book also helps the reader to understand what burnout is, how to recognise the signs of stress and burnout, and is designed to get people thinking about how they can build resilience to further their chances of achieving their dreams.
Throughout the book there are opportunities and tools that the reader can interact with to reflect on their own lives, and apply Deborah’s techniques, insight and guidance. The reader is invited to download FREE accompanying worksheets from her website to help the reader realise and release their own personal and professional potential.
Deborah concludes: ”I am delighted that this has become a best seller and hope that it helps readers across the world to re-connect, realise and release both personal and professional potential. I have learned what information, insights and advice typically help people move forwards with their own purpose, passion and joy. That’s what I want to share in this book in the hope that I can make a difference.”