Childhood Trauma Career Pivots and Burnout with Sonja Leason The Agile Business Athlete Show Podcast S1 E4

Childhood Trauma, Career Pivots, and Burnout with Sonja Leason S1 E4

Today I’m welcoming Sonja Leason, who is Managing Director of business consultancy Love Mondays. Sonja is also the best-selling author of A Woman’s Work. We talk about childhood trauma, career pivots, and dealing with burnout.

Homeless at 16, pregnant and still homeless at 17, and a new mum on the streets at 18, Sonja was in and out of homeless hostels for years while navigating her way out of homelessness and to her business. At age 30, everything changed for Sonja. Her son became seriously ill and she had to throw herself into caring for him.

A realisation came at this time that she could continue down the road she had been on, full of burnout and passing the care of her son to others while she worked, or she could go another way. Sonja spent much time in therapy, training to be a coach, training to be a hypnotherapist, and rebuilding her mental fortitude.

Being young and homeless was a blessing in disguise because at the time she didn’t know to be afraid. The realisation of trauma came later. It has, however, helped with resilience in the face of overwhelming hardship.

Sonja has had 3 severe episodes of burnout, with one of the episodes happening during isolation in the pandemic. For Sonja, inauthenticity has a huge part in burnout. The stress of being someone you aren’t and forcing yourself into a hole you don’t fit in takes a toll.

To combat burnout, Sonja looked at her values and realised she was out of alignment with them. How she spent her free time, at raves for days on end and being dissociated from her body. Now, Sonja is proactive about meeting her needs instead of reactive.

Burnout is a serious and crippling issue that you don’t have to go through alone. If you’re feeling burned out or are suffering the effects of chronic stress, reach out to someone. There are 12 stages of burnout as identified through the work of psychologists Gail North and Herbert Freudenberger. We have a free resource that walks through each of those 12 stages of burnout so you’ll know what to look for in yourself, your teams and those around you. With advice on what to do at each stage.

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