evolve to succeed workplace wellbeing podcast with warren munson and leanne spencer discussing burnout prevention

Evolve to Succeed Part 1: Workplace Wellbeing & A Better 2024

For many of us, the start of a new year presents an opportunity to set new goals and determine a path to a happier, healthier, and more successful life. Which is why Warren Munson invited me along as his first guest of 2024 on the Evolve to Succeed podcast. I’ve dedicated the last 12+ years to improving the health and performance of teams. And, over the next couple of blog posts, I’ll be sharing some of the key things discussed in this episode. Part 1 is all about my own experience with burnout and how I got into wellbeing, particularly in the workplace.

“Why are you so passionate about workplace wellbeing and avoiding burnout?”

Early 2012 I was working in the city for various market data companies. And whilst I’d enjoyed my career for a period, from about 2010 onwards this enjoyment had fizzled out. I was mixing with people whose values didn’t match my own, and wasn’t feeling a lot of reward from what I was doing. As a result, I was starting to feel quite burnt out. I want to point out that burnout isn’t just a case of, “I’m working more than my body can cope with.” It can also occur if you’re doing something that doesn’t align with your values, or being in an environment that simply doesn’t suit you. Which is how it was for me, not so much physical effort, but all those other things that were going on.

Unhealthy Habits

Prior to that breaking point, I had been medicating against this with alcohol. I was drinking quite a bit of wine every night consistently for years. It all came to a head one rather dank, miserable, wet Friday afternoon. I was on my way to a sales meeting, hoping to close the biggest order of my career. I arrived, exchanged pleasantries with my client; we sat down. And that’s when they told me this deal just wasn’t going to happen.

Time to Think

My immediate thought was that this was going to make things very difficult for me back at the sales office. I knew I was running to the end of what the company was happy with – and myself, too – in that particular role. So, I went home and spent the weekend thinking about what I wanted to do. And my options were to stay in this job and keep going, find a different job within the same company, look for the same job at a different company, or leave and do something completely different. And, with no savings or plan, I chose to jump ship.

Rest and Recovery

I just wanted to get out. I was drinking alcoholically, I was tired and emotionally drained, I was burnt out. It seemed to me there were two paths, and one of them just wasn’t tenable. So, I took some time to rest and recover, during which I gave up alcohol – I’m actually coming up to 12 years of sobriety. I re-trained as a personal trainer, and did that for a couple of years, at one point I had a team of trainers working for me. But I realised that fitness was in fact only a very small part of health and wellbeing, both at home and in the workplace. It’s important, don’t get me wrong! But when you consider all of the other components, it’s just one bit of it. There’s also sleep, mental health, energy, resilience, recovery. So we created the Six Signals®, a coaching course that looked at all of these.

Becoming a Keynote Speaker

Some time later, I had a conversation with an old boss, who suggested my efforts would be better spent talking to corporates as I’d done before, developing myself as a speaker and delivering these important messages at scale. And that brings me up to today, I’ve been a professional speaker for about seven years. We’re a company of five people, and we mostly talk about Cadence, the importance of social relationships, and stress resilience in the younger generation, as well.

“Do you wish you’d done it earlier?”

It’s an interesting question. I do wish I’d done it before, it certainly feels like a life of two halves. But I’m not sure it works that way. I think you have to get to a point where you’re fronted with a decisional path, and there’s that real impulse to want to break away from what you know – or what may or may not be well paid. There needs to be enough pain to motivate people to change, and I needed to get to that point in order to make that break. But I have known people who have said, “This has gone far enough for me, I’m off,” and I think we’re seeing that more now.

“Is that because we’re understanding ourselves better? Or because there’s more possibility and choice in the world in 2024?”

I think there’s that. Many are breaking off to go all-in on side hustles, which are better talked about now. The pandemic did provide a lot of people – not everybody – with the opportunity to re-think, and consider what’s really important to them. It showed them what life could be like if there was another hour in the day. What life could be like if they could work out in the middle of the day. To have more time to spend with family or to walk the dog in the morning. And I think that made people realise they wanted to do things differently, or do something completely different. 


I realised a few years ago that the most important thing to me is autonomy. That, if you like, is my North Star. As much as possible, I want to have control over my destiny. I do believe that my actions will dictate what happens in my life. So, my message to anyone listening or reading is this: what’s your North Star? Which value are you going to let guide you? That’s really how your own journey to wellbeing begins – both personally and in the workplace.

Want to find out more about our wellbeing keynotes?

Leanne’s wellbeing keynotes are ideal for conferences, senior leadership meetings, and sales kick-offs. If you’re interested in having her along to talk at your next corporate event, get in touch.

Cadence: how to increase the stress resilience of your teams (in a high-performance culture)

Join us for our upcoming webinar on Tuesday 30th January 2024, 12:00pm

Business is an endurance sport with occasional sprints (or frequent sprints in some cases). We believe in training your leaders and their teams to be fit for the rigours of business life. The webinar will give you a sneak peek into how we’ve helped multiple companies improve the stress resilience of their teams using our innovative Cadence Approach. Click here to read more.

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