I recently featured a wonderful guest, an Olympic record breaker actually, and we fell into an innately fascinating conversation about burning out in life. Many of you reached out, related, and shared the story. And for good reason. This is one of the most common collective experiences we all share – whether it’s personal or professional – or both.

Burnout is nature’s way of telling us that we are no longer an active participant in our own lives, just merely going through the motions.

When Janet McKee, author, public speaker, wellness expert, and CEO of SanaView, shared her story with me (you’ll want to hear this), I knew it felt right to further explore burnout and look at the secrets on the road back to recovery. When a Fortune 500 Corporate Executive explains how burnout can be deadly, it’s worth talking about.

Stress + Struggle Doesn’t = Success
Always a high achiever, top of her class, the first person in the office and the last one out, Janet had been taught from a very early age that if she worked (and worked and worked) and had determination and grit, she would succeed. Like many of us, she took that to heart and poured herself relentlessly into every aspect of her career.

Yet, what if the opposite were actually true? What if the stress and the struggle built walls around us… walls that block solutions and opportunities?

Two Fortune 500 corporations and one very high pressure career at Oracle later, Janet developed an autoimmune disease that began wreaking havoc on her internal organs. “I hadn’t eaten for two months and my liver was failing. That’s where this path to success landed me. At the hospital, they offered me two options – medication with a 15% chance of causing cancer or organ removal. Both were terrifying and I knew, even though I knew nothing about health and wellness, that I needed to get myself out of the hospital.”

If Janet hadn’t almost died in the hospital, if I hadn’t experienced what I thought was a heart attack, if you hadn’t ever felt that sense of dread waking up each morning – where would we be? The success we are seeking is sometimes the wall keeping us from having what we need and want from life.

Gratitude, Even In Terrifying Moments
It’s in these most challenging moments we become wiser and (way) more resilient. It’s in these most challenging moments we become more thankful for every other moment. It’s in these most challenging moments we become who we are meant to become – but only if we are willing to pivot.

How to Choose “Life”
Janet chose to live her life in a particular way the day she left that hospital. I constantly CHOOSE “life”. I choose to LOVE life no matter what. And this is where life pivots into purpose and a Change Proof mentality – when we can truly understand that challenges are a choice – not a punishment.

My challenges teach me.
This WILL make me wiser.
I am choosing to be resilient.
I am ready to learn from this.

Mantras like this, when included in our day, can help pivot our mindset into a place of resilience. And it’s in this place of resilience where we get to use our challenges and our triumphs. This is how we choose the life we want to live.

If that seems too simple, think about this: your mindset is the foundation for your entire day. Mindset determines how you feel, what you have the capacity to get done in a day, how well you handle the ebb and flow of the day, your emotional state and so on. If you’re actively choosing to incorporate Change Proof habits, like the mantras above, you are setting the foundation for your own success. It is that simple.

I want to leave you with one last thought today… What is the point of success if it almost kills you in the process? What I want for you, more than anything, is for you to choose life first and let your success be a byproduct of that. This is a space where challenges are exciting because you know you can handle anything, your foundation is solid and you are truly Change Proof.

“The world’s most accomplished people know that wellness is the foundation for success. It’s not about staying up late and getting up early and living on caffeine. It’s about recovery, resilience and building a foundation that takes care of YOU.”