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“It Is Women That So Often Step Forward To Bear The Brunt.” – Everything You Need To Know About Last Night’s Burnout Panel

From unpaid labour to redefining our own relationships with rest – The Stack World explores burnout with an expert panel

By Hannah Connolly

28 April 2022

“Scaffolding”, “Space Awareness” and “Tools” may sound like the description of a building site, but in fact, these are some of the words that came up last night in The Stack World Founders Burnout Panel.

In essence, the panel was an exercise in building, the building of foundational layers to broaden and open our dialogue and understanding of what it means to be burnout and why it is women that are most likely to suffer.

Hosted at the stunning One Hundred Hotel with its panoramic views of London, the sun quite literally came out as conversation flowed. Insights coming from Stack World Founder Sharmadean Reid, Bethany Koby-Hirschmann, Chief Vision Officer of Fam Studio, Olivia Ferdi Co-Founder of TRIP and Samantha Clarke Happiness Coach.

Burnout can often, for so many people, be a lonely journey, but when the room was asked who has been (or is currently) burnout, almost every hand went straight up. A welcomed reminder of not being alone, yet a stark depiction of just how many people are burnt out.

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What followed was an hour and half deep dive into everything from defining burnout, challenging our relationship to time off, societal conditions that cause women to burnout and the absolute revolution that rest truly is.

We rounded the night off with glasses of champagne provided by our Sponsor Veuve Clicquot and city views at The One Hundred’s brand new rooftop spot. You can watch the full panel now, but make sure you don't miss out on our next meet up by becoming a premium member today.

Here we break down the main takeaways you need to know…

Defining Burnout And Building Your Scaffolding

When it comes to experiencing burnout, for each individual the experience is different, all four panellists spoke of their journeys and the importance of good structural frameworks. The word “scaffolding”, was used as the parameters of your self-defence, but also the importance of recognising if what you are building is structurally sound or not.

As Bethany Koby-Hirschmann shared, upon reflection she realised her infrastructure was only designed to make her go faster…

Key Quotes To Note:

“I had created strong scaffolding for myself, so I had a good foundation but what I realised was, is that the scaffolding I was building was intended for me to be able to go faster” – Bethany Koby-Hirschmann

“When I think of burnout, I think of it as a series of waves. Detachment and lack of joy are what I see happening, it happened to me, I had a distinct disdain for what I was doing but that is when you are in the wave of burnout where you have gone too far.” — Samantha Clarke

“If you can put in place ways of understanding yourself you can start to understand the framework and the right scaffolding that can work for you.” – Olivia Ferdi

“What I started to experience was an almost out of body feeling, where I no longer felt physically embedded in myself. Now I can review it. I was also experiencing an incredible amount of intellectual racing – I was living in my brain only. I felt like a giant head and I didn't feel in my body.” – Bethany Koby-Hirschmann

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Putting Down Your Roots, Guilt And The Importance Of Rest

From scaffolding and infrastructures to the idea of rest, and importantly the feelings or words this evokes in our minds. For many, rest is deeply intertwined with guilt, a connection driven by the idea of living within parameters that only facilitate your moving forward and faster.

Sharmadean Reid shared the idea of ecosystems of support and the importance of spreading roots. Using nature as a direct comparison to our own needs: “No one forgets about blossom over winter, we just wait for it to bloom when it's ready,” said Reid.

Key Quotes To Note:

“I felt this unbelievable intertwined identity with the business, so much so, it was unhealthy. I had to detach from this world. What my time off allowed me to do was all the things I had sacrificed whilst building a business, for me this was relationships, I just was not present for most of my relationships especially, with friends. I did things that felt luxurious and it gave me space – real space and I think original ideas come from space.” – Bethany Koby-Hirschmann

“The feeling I have before I get to rest is this kind of rushed feeling. I might think I am doing okay today as a founder, as a wife, as a sister, but am I a good enough friend, am I a good enough philanthropist, have I supported my friends sufficiently…? I often go through this transition of life admin priority lists, before I think ah, okay now I can rest and I still don't know exactly how to address that.” – Olivia Ferdi

“It's about meeting everyone else's expectations first versus what their bodies can do, it is about looking at our bodies as if they were laptops, even our phones need to be charged and set aside.” — Samantha Clarke

“I do see this from different cultural perspectives and I look at myself, the time that I burnt out 1) I felt ill from my sickle cell and there were a couple of months where I was forced to be in bed in pain 2) and there was also this pressure and burden that stems from a Jamaican background of you’ve got to work.” — Samantha Clarke

Rest Is Resistance, And What Societal Conditions Have Caused Burnout

Unpaid labour, the expectations placed upon women, and the expectations upon immigrant women, these are all factors that build the bigger societal picture that exasperates and pushes more and more women towards burnout. Teamed with the internalisation that there must always be entire self-accountability for burning out.

“It is this culture that is impressing this upon us, for me, it is about rethinking leadership, the economy and yourself.” – Sharmadean Reid

Key Quotes To Note:

“I have it embedded in me this expectation that as a woman I can run a business, I can be a good wife, I can be a good mom and I can provide everything for everyone. These expectations are embedded in my DNA as part of this lineage of women… they modelled this way of being a woman that I then replicated.” – Bethany Koby-Hirschmann

“How many men do you know that have the same priority lists? It is society's expectations of us as women to wear so many different hats flawlessly, managing the emotional and the physical labour that is demanded of us.” – Olivia Ferdi

“It is a woman's role traditionally to manage worst-case scenarios, whether it is someone becoming unwell, or job security, or food security and it is women that so often step forward to bear that brunt.” – Olivia Ferdi

The Short Stack

From unpaid labour to redefining our own relationships with rest – The Stack World explores burnout with an expert panel.

By Hannah Connolly

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