Most of us dream of achieving career success, however, without proper guidance and self-care, many of us get lost along the way.
In today’s “hustle culture” burnout is the norm.
I have recently discussed with Nicole Lapin how to achieve career success while avoiding burnout, and why self-care is important in achieving your goals.
Nicole is the New York Times bestselling author of “Boss Bitch” and “Rich Bitch” and she recently published her third book “Becoming Super Woman”. Nicole Lapin holds the title of the youngest ever anchor on CNN before holding the same title at CNBC. She anchored the morning show “Worldwide Exchange” on CNBC, covering business and finance topics and interviewed important political and economic personalities. She is a regular financial reports contributor to Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, and The Steve Harvey Show. Nicole is the first female that won the “Money Expert of the Year” award twice, while also becoming the first-ever money columnist for Redbook Magazine.
Corina: Hi Nicole! Congrats on your latest book “Becoming Super Woman”!
Nicole: Thank you!
C: For readers that haven’t yet purchased the book, can you tell us more about it and what made you write it?
N: Writing “Becoming Super Woman” was a great learning experience for me. I went through a difficult time in the past and I wanted to share everything that I learned along the way about self-care and valuing yourself first, things that we don’t learn in school, and that ended up affecting my career more than anything else.
In a plane, before takeoff, they always ask you to put your oxygen mask first before helping others. I completely agree with that.
You can’t be of service to anyone else if you are crashing and burning yourself. I think that self-care has gotten a lot of buzz lately, which is amazing, but I think it goes beyond manicures, pedicures, and massages.
Although not always easy, going to the doctor, for example, is really important.
C: As I understand, on top of burnout, which you have discussed in the book, something you are also talking about now, that you haven’t spoken about before, is your experience with migraine. Can you explain how did you manage such a busy career life while also suffering from this chronic illness?
N: I first experienced migraine in my mid-twenties. I felt nauseated, I felt major pressure on my face and my head and, as you rightly know, when I was on air on TV as an anchor, I had long, stressful days with bright studio lights, which occasionally triggered my migraine.
I remember times when I was reporting on major breaking news, which required me to be on-air for hours. Normally being in dark environments helped, so I’d sneak into my little wardrobe room, it wasn’t anything fancy, just to reset.
I’ve been lucky to have supporting managers and co-workers, but I certainly feel that I’ve missed a lot of work because of my migraine. It’s not just a headache, it is a disease that affects millions of us and that is why I’ve teamed up with Amgen Novartis, the makers of preventative treatment option called Aimovig, on their mission to support people with migraine, because that is my mission as well.
I think the more vocal and visible we all are, the more people will recognize that this is a disease that you can’t just drink water for.
C: What would be your one piece of advice for people who want to understand more about migraine and get some guidance on how exactly to manage this in the workplace?
N: I encourage everyone to go to Know Migraine Mission to learn more about how to talk to your boss about migraine or how to deal with migraine in the workplace. There are guides and tips to help you through that and so that is my best recommendation.
C: How are you personally dealing with migraine? What actions are you taking now to manage it?
N: I continue to work with my doctor to find the best treatment plan for me and that’s what I encourage everybody to do when dealing with migraine.
Talk to your doctor about how migraine is impacting your life and what is the best treatment option for you.
C: Looking back at your experience with migraine and how it has impacted your career, is there anything that you would do different?
N: Looking back I just wish I had more migraine-free days J. I think I would have had more time.
You can always get more money but you can’t get more time. Take this from the “money lady”.
It would have given me a better chance to consider new or different career goals. Now that I have this platform, I’m able to help others think through some of their career goals and options and real ways to set one up for success.
C: Something that you talk about in your book is the importance of finding balance between your career, day-to-day life, and passions. What is your tip for actually finding that balance in life?
N: I think it’s figuring out what balance means to you. We can often feel like we’re not good enough or we’re not doing well enough or we’re not balanced compared to people that we see on social media and so I think it’s probably figuring out what that looks like for you.
It can be that you’re focusing completely on your career now and that’s ok. You have to forgive yourself for what you’re not focusing on because I believe you CAN have it all. You just can’t do it all, especially not at the same time.
Make personal finance a priority. Set up a budget and stick to it. There are many people complaining that they’re off budget when they haven’t even set up a budget in the first place.
So figure out what balance even means for you and stick to that definition. It can change so many things in your life and it should.
C: Something else you talk about is prioritizing yourself and putting yourself first. For an average American woman who, let’s say has a full time, two kids and maybe also a side hustle, and wants to put herself first. How can she put herself first without accumulating debt?
N: It can be little things. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. It can be small gifts to yourself, which include little rituals and they can include big rituals. Get after it!
Or you can just give yourself the gift of a morning routine or an evening routine and that’s free.
Writing down gratitude every day in the morning and at night, for example, has totally changed my life in the way that I carry on throughout the day.
Your day can be chaotic, especially with kids, as you mentioned. There are all sorts of stuff that pop up through the day but you can control not looking at your phone in the morning or before you go to bed, not going down Instagram rabbit holes.
I used to have a morning workout schedule but if something for work came up I would say I didn’t have anything going on but the truth is I had a date with myself and I would have thought a thousand times before canceling on this interview or a meeting or a date with a friend or a man, whatever but I wouldn’t think twice about canceling on myself so I really needed to remind myself that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.
When people tell me they don’t have time I ask them to give me their mobile and show me how much time they are spending on social media.
We all have the same amount of time in one day. Managing your time is just as important as managing your budget.
As I mentioned before, you can always make more money but you can’t get more time.
C: That’s great advice! Many of the women visiting this website are just starting out their careers and are looking to become successful, maybe as successful as you are. What is your advice to these women who want to become successful while avoiding burnout?
N: My biggest advice is to rethink everything, including procrastination.
I think we sometimes are really hard on ourselves. We often have a “mean girl” inside our heads. I used to say the most horrible things to myself.
If something went wrong at work I used to say to myself “You suck! You’re going to die alone. You’re going to be broke and homeless!” and that is absolutely awful.
If my best friend said to me that something bad happened at work I would never say those things to her. I would say “Baby it’s going to be okay. It’s all going to work out. You’re the best!”.
I needed to retrain myself to think that way about myself and I also had to realize that procrastination is not a bad thing if you are thoughtfully procrastinating.
Not everything needs to get done in one day, in fact, that’s impossible, so I really have tried to connect the dots between my to-do list with what my goals are. Not everything on that to-do list is going to help me move towards my goals for the day.
Sometimes it feels really cathartic to cross everything out but it’s about being intentional about what you are focusing on and you can’t focus on all things all the time. You’re just not going to do anything well that way.
C: Something else you have talked about in your book is how you used to set higher and higher goals for yourself and as soon as you reached them you didn’t get as much joy from them as you had maybe expected and this led to immediately set new goals. Can you talk more about that and tell us what are your goals now?
N: I think a lot of us say that we’ll be happy when we land a certain job or when we get a certain salary and then you get there and almost immediately you’re not happy and you have another goal and that’s another salary or it’s another job.
I never got my brain to the other side of balance or happiness and I think that we should all think about the fact that balance and happiness bring more success and not the other way around.
I think when you have your self-care on point it can be the greatest asset in your career and when it’s off it can actually be the greatest liability in your career.
I think it’s reminding yourself that you are here now.
C: Is there anything that you are personally working towards now and you are excited about?
N: So many things :).
I think that what’s resonated the most with my audience is when I’m particularly vulnerable about things that others don’t want to talk about, so I hope to be able to inspire others to tell their stories.
I think somebody has to go first with some of these tricky or taboo topics so let that be me.
C: What would you like to say to our readers in regard to the importance of having a tribe in one’s journey to success?
N: I think community is a huge part of success.
Think of your own personal C-suite. In a company, the C-suite is your executive-level team. You have a CEO, a CFO, COO, etc.. You can have the same types of people in your own personal C-suite. I like to sometimes think of it as my own personal board of directors.
There can be toxic people in your life and it’s important to really asses who those people are and I know that sometimes it’s hard when those people are family members or long term friends but if they don’t serve you, they’ve got to go because it’s been shown that community is one of the greatest factors along with journaling and gratitude that contribute to more balance and ultimately happiness and success.
C: Do you have any final thoughts that you’d like to share with our readers?
N: I think it’s really important to take stock of your career goals and check-in with yourself.
Write them down into baby steps. It feels more manageable that way with anything overwhelming.
Figure out what your destination is and then reverse engineer to figure out how to get there, get the money and live the life you want.
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