An Achiever’s Guide to Burnout and Balancing Happiness

Jenna Kutcher 

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February 1, 2021


Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher

As I was listening to the first episode of Zuri Hall’s new podcast, I found myself wishing I could pour a cup of coffee and sit across the couch from her and talk about everything from celebrity gossip to the meaning of life… She’s got this warm energy that comes through when she speaks and makes you feel like old friends from the start. 

So maybe we’re not sitting across the couch from one another, but I’m grateful for this podcast being the next best thing. Zuri Hall is an Emmy-winning TV host, producer, and actress. Her career has brought her to red carpets and TV screens all over. I have to mention that she even hosted reunion specials for my throwback favorite show, The Challenge. Anybody else love that?

With all of those impressive accomplishments, she’s no stranger to working hard, but she’s also seasoned in burnout. Zuri is here to dig into why we need to stop celebrating burn-out as a badge of honor, and how we can keep on building our dream lives without sacrificing our peace and happiness. 

What Makes You Happy?

It was a title of an article Zuri Hall wrote in her twenties when she was very close to doing just that — losing her mind while on the climb to achieve and do more in her career. 

She once lived by this idea: “I’ll grind in my 20s and save my living for later, and I’ll be so glad that I sacrificed all of this other stuff because I got the payoff, the reward, the professional and financial gain,” Zuri explained. “Everything in me was so career centric for 10 years that I didn’t spend enough time building out the other pillars of my life.”

Zuri began to realize that her mental health and her happiness was completely reliant on how her job was going that day. “When work was bad, my world felt like it was falling apart. When work was great, I was on cloud nine,” she shared. “But I didn’t want one thing in my life to have that much of a hold on me.”

Reaching her late-20s, she realized that the peace she was seeking would only come with a lot of self-work. Zuri got into therapy for the first time and she credits a lot of her breakthroughs to that. “Figuring out how to be happy outside of work means figuring out what makes me happy,” Zuri continued. “Achieving makes me happy, checking the box makes me happy, but there’s gotta be more.”

Is Burnout Inevitable?

We hear so many stories of successful people working themselves to the bone, hitting burnout, and having a breakthrough that leads to a refined, more sustainable version of success. I asked Zuri about the inevitability of burnout — can we avoid it? Should we?

Zuri began, “For me, burnout is still a tool. It’s an alarm system to me.” Burnout can be a powerful signal that something needs to change or shift, “and that’s a good thing. The issue, to me, is when we ignore or try to suppress that alarm system.”

“When we dedicate ourselves to a practice of nurturing and cultivating peace, it takes longer before we get to the burnout place,” Zuri explained. “I noticed that after months of laying the foundation [of peace], it took so much more to get my upset. It took so much more for the things that triggered me in my life to trigger me. I had more patience for the people I loved.”

Zuri talks about the “pillars” that support her happiness, and it’s a really interesting and eye opening prompt. Press play for the full episode that’ll help you get thinking about the pillars that will hold you up when you face burnout.

Balance as a Type 3 Achiever

Zuri is the epitome of a type 3 (on the Enneagram — curious what this means? Listen to the Enneagram episode!) One of the challenges of being an Achiever is finding balance between checking things off your goal list and all of the other significant and important components of your life. 

“Let’s be high-achieving, but let’s do it in a lens that prioritizes self-care and wellness. Let’s try to get balance emotionally, physically, spiritually, so that we can enjoy all of these successes,” Zuri continued, “Achieving all of your goals is not worth it if you’re not happy while you’re achieving them, and it took me most of my 20s to realize that.”

I loved when Zuri said this: “Instead of worrying about what I have yet to do, because there’s plenty more I want to do, I am just soaking up what is happening right now. And that doesn’t mean there aren’t messes… But that is life.”

Zuri also dug into what the inner work looks like for an achievement driven individual. She shared a question that really struck me, “If no one knew what I did, if no one ever knew this happened, would I still be excited to do it? Would I still be proud? I’m still sitting with myself on that.”

More from Zuri Hall

Do you need more Zuri Hall? SAME. She started her podcast Hot Happy Mess to dig even deeper into living your best life and striving for more, minus the burnout. Tune in right here or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow along with Zuri on Instagram @zurihall.

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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