Audrey Zander  00:00

So how does your job how does your career fit into your overall life vision when you’re 80? And look back on your life? What do you want to remember what you want to be proud of what is going to make you smile?


Adam Baruh  00:24

Welcome to The Change where we share stories and inspiration from business leaders and people making positive work life changes. I’m your host, Adam Baruh. Today we’re going to revisit the topic of burnout, focusing this time on what it looks like and how it manifests itself. Did people suffer burnout 30-40 years ago, the way we experience burnout today, is this great resignation trend reflecting more about us or more about our management? What exactly is different about the workforce today that is making burnout, such a common occurrence? Our guest today, Audrey Zander, is a burnout and stress specialist who found her way through her own experiences with burnout, and burnout. Hey, Audrey, welcome to The Change.


Audrey Zander  01:06

Hey, Adam. Thanks for having me.


Adam Baruh  01:08

Yeah, of course. So I’m just going to launch right into our episode here today with a powerful confession that I read on your website, and you stated, I’m proud of who I am. And I love myself, which is a powerful statement coming from someone who at age 22, discovered she loathed herself and didn’t know what happiness meant. So would you mind telling us a bit more about this time in your life? And growing up? And why at age 22? You felt this way?


Audrey Zander  01:37

Yes. All right. Let me go back there for a minute. Um, so the confession deep deep down is my father is a narcissistic pervert. So there was something I’ve never said out loud on a podcast. But now that you ask it, the thing is so narcissistic pervert means the ego centrism plus manipulation. The perfect part means manipulative, and age 22, I realized that I had taken on quite a few traits of his. And I didn’t really know about self awareness then. But now in retrospect, I can observe. And notice that that’s what was happening. I was starting to wake up to who I was. I had finished school, I was at college, I my parents were separating. So I think there’s a whole bunch of things that came up. And I started recognizing that there were things that I recognized myself, that I really, really did not like really did not like, yeah, and I call it my it’s my quarter life crisis that started there. My quest to figure out who am I? And who am I, when I’m not my dad, not my mom. And what? Who am I when I’m happy, and that opened Pandora’s box. It was this big unknown. I called it my demons that started descending upon me. I was 22 in college, family breaking up exploding, and this whole realization that shoot when I look in the mirror, I really do not like who I am.


Adam Baruh  03:14

Yeah, I in your 20s, especially early 20s. I remember for me that that was also a tough time. And it’s like when you make these discoveries about yourself, and you’re not really kind of like in this environment anymore, where perhaps, you know, growing up with your family are somewhat sheltered, right. So there’s just you on your own having to live with it and deal with it. Right.


Audrey Zander  03:36

Yeah. And I think until then, because the self awareness, okay, it awakens. What is it? Ah, it when you’re a child, when you start realizing that people look at you, and that, that there’s judgment and observations and that already shakes a bit of confidence, and then in teenage years, even more so. And then when when I left home, I think the whole copy paste of our parents because I think we do model off from what we see. And understanding Hold on. Again, I didn’t know this concept of values back then. But now I also realized I just wasn’t match it. I didn’t like, who I was seeing and this whole self awareness and those early ages is shaky. Yeah, it really really rattles you.


Adam Baruh  04:22

Yeah. And for me, I remember, you know, because you just don’t know a lot when you’re that age. You think that you do, interestingly but you do. Yeah. But you just but you don’t and you know, as you get older, you kind of look back and you’re like okay, but yeah, I think for me, and I’m curious your thoughts on this, but, you know, there was a fear, you know, am I going to turn out like my parents Am I just gonna be like them, or am I going to who like, I didn’t even know really who I was like I you know, I hadn’t really been around or experienced much enough to really understand who I was individually. You know, it takes time to flesh that out, but you know, what was that like for you? Is it On a similar, you know, thinking that with your father the way he was, I mean, did you have, you know, as a lot of your fear and self loathing, you know, based on your own fear of thinking that you might turn out like him?


Audrey Zander  05:11

Exactly. So I think I my awareness also of how I showed up in the world, and how I interacted with others, was mold from mold molded, molded. So English is one of my languages, let’s just put that out so that if I say something incorrectly, people know why.


Adam Baruh  05:32

Well, you do speak three, you confess the website. So that’s impressive.


Audrey Zander  05:36

English, French, German. Yes. So I kind of copy pasted a lot of what I saw. And there were my mother, on the other hand is amazing. She’s just loving, very respectful, diplomatic, young, amazing woman. And so I thankfully took from both sides, but the size from my father, which I think you do, in a way, copy, paste, until you grow in self awareness and realize what do I want to keep? Who am I underneath all of this? And when I realized that the time because they were breaking up as well, I didn’t want to be either of them. And that then was like, but who am I, and the World Cup, my world collapsed. And that and I then was like, what makes me happy. And that made me so sad. I realized, I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what it means for me to be happy. And it made me so sad. I thought, How am I asking myself this question for the first time in my life at age 22? I don’t know if others do before that or if not, or at all. But for me, it was wonderful. How am I asking myself this for the first time in my life now?


Adam Baruh  06:40

Well, I didn’t really ask that, that deeply until I was probably 47-48. So I don’t know what’s better to kind of, you know, gain that self awareness when you’re younger or gain and when you’re older. So anyway, thank you so much for sharing, and for your honesty and vulnerability. I’d like to read another quote, If I can from your website. I burned out twice and bored out once at the time I knew to apply my communication skills for the organizations I worked for. Less so for myself, my voice stayed stuck in my throat in the face of negotiation, conflict, speaking up, standing up for myself, I knew nothing about boundaries had little understanding of the importance of my values. My confidence was shaky, my self worth non existent. I didn’t know my overall life vision, I didn’t know myself. I suffered in silence until it became too much to bear, and resigned each time taking months to recover. Now I know, it doesn’t have to be that way. So I have a two part question I’d like to ask based on his quote, first, can you tell us about the two experiences of burnout, as well as what you mean by bore out and secondly, what led to the realization that you’re suffering and slow recovery doesn’t have to be that way.


Audrey Zander  08:02

Um, so the two book burnout one, the official definition probably doesn’t really classify as burnout, because burnout, the official definition relates, it links it to work. Um, mine was health was because of health because I have a chronic illness called endometriosis, which one out of 10 women suffer from in the world. And it’s still very much a taboo. And it’s, it’s, it can be very, very difficult to live with the point of depression to the point of suicide. So it’s a it’s really something important. And I’ve struggled with it for decades, and there were better times worse times. And in this instance, it was probably one of the worst phases I had, where I was in so much pain, popping, coding, taking painkillers, and I had just moved to Tahiti out of all places, and French Polynesia. And I was worried I loved my job, I had landed a dream job working in the hotel industry, going on sales trips to Bora Bora out of all places. So like life was amazing. And my health was such a struggle, so much pain, that I was surviving, I was really in survival mode. My only thought was I want to keep my job, I want to keep my job, I want to keep my job. So I would focus on work, put my energy into that. And then when I was done, go home and just sleep. Just try and try and forget about all the rest. And that lasted for several months. And I think with that physical pain comes fatigue, exhaustion, self doubt. And when when your nerves are just that physical pain at some point and you’re it’s okay, I was surviving, because there’s no cure to this illness either. You can just pop painkillers get surgery and it comes back. And so at that and that’s how it went. ended for me at the end. It’s it was through surgery, and then I could recover physically and then focus on work again. So that was the first one. And I think that’s quite an interesting angle as well, that burnout isn’t necessarily the official definition, only that it’s only through work and workload on leaders and micromanagement. And, and and it can be because of other things because you’re struggling at trying to balance personal life health. Other worries whilst wanting to keep your job doing well, by your job and your managers and your employers. It’s just too much.


Adam Baruh  10:37



Audrey Zander  10:37

That was the first one.


Adam Baruh  10:39

Okay. And the second?


Audrey Zander  10:41

Yeah, the second one. So then I had a bore out, which we’ll come to afterwards, and then I had a burnout again. And so the reason of the second one, again, now, in retrospect, it was my last job in corporate in the corporate world, which I already knew I didn’t want to be part of anymore. I have known that for a while. But because of lack of a better idea, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have a specific passion that I wanted to develop or dive into other I didn’t know what to do. And I suppose we’re gonna get into this afterwards, because I now know why it burned out. Basically, I didn’t have the right reasons to be in that job anymore. I took it because I didn’t have anything else to do. I was worried about money, I was worried about the gaps in my CV. So I accepted another corporate job. And the symptoms were, if the exhaustion is the no social life, it’s no energy at the end of the day to exercise because that’s something that’s super important to me, I’ve always exercised. I have moved to a new place a new country and new city. I didn’t have time or the energy to meet people. And the exhaustion the kind of worry all the time, oh, no, please don’t let my manager get too nice to take. Give me something more. Another task, another project very often. So this was a micromanager. The company culture was toxic, they had been through changes numerous times over the past three, four or five years, and they were changing again. So there was lacking of leadership of communication. People didn’t know when they were going to lose their job or not. So it was already a toxic culture. And on top of that, my micromanager and it was, for me the biggest alarm bell, I don’t drink alcohol, really. And I got to a point where I would go home and start drinking red wine. Not much, but like a half class or something to wind down. Rap was such a Fog City. What on earth is going on? This is not me. But you’re so exhausted that you don’t know how to get out of it. And then the next day is like, Alright, let’s go again. Go again. That will stop at some point. You just don’t know how and you’re just like no, go again. Go to.


Adam Baruh  13:00

Yeah, it’s like being on a hamster wheel. Right?  Yeah.


Audrey Zander  13:05

So what about the bore out? What do you mean by bore out and describe what what that experience was? So burnout is the other end of the spectrum is you don’t have enough to do at work. Or you’re not stimulated intellectually by it. So it’s when you’re bored, you go to work and you’re just dragging your feet because it’s the it’s you don’t know how to get through the next 810 hours, or however many it is, because you either have nothing to do, or what you’re doing is so it’s gotten boring, and a lack of stimulation comes which which then brings lack of confidence of self worth. Drain it drained energy. So it’s very similar. The symptoms are very similar to burn out, maybe without the stress factor as much. But in terms of physical symptoms, being lethargic, weight gain or loss, no social life. So there again, I put on so much weight within just three months, because I was bored because I was trying to make my lunch breaks longer and have huge lunches. At the end of the day, I was so drained from sitting at my desk pretending that I was busy, because there’s that aspect as well. You don’t always know how to bring it up or very seldomly how to bring it up depending on how confident you are at that stage. And then in reality, my position it was too early. They had hired me way too early on and there were powerplay above me. So they were busy with their own ego plays. And I was pretending all day because I just didn’t know what would happen if I spoke up would I lose my job? What would I do? I had moved to again a new country. I had an ex back contract. What would I do if I didn’t have so all these fears come in that you’re where I’m going Here’s a mask all day. And it’s exhausting. Yeah, it’s exhausting, because you don’t want people to realize what’s going on. And then at the end of the day, again, no exercise, no social life, because you’ve given your own, I have given all my energy to pretending for 10-12 hours.


Adam Baruh  15:16

Alright, can completely relate with that. I’ve worked in government jobs three times. The first was actually, I really enjoyed it, it was working for the National Park Service here in the US, and I got to spend my days hiking. So that was amazing. But then, you know, when I launched into my IT career, I worked for two other government agencies. And, you know, I, I don’t say this to be a knock on government jobs, because, you know, for many people, it’s a good fit. I think specifically, these two roles that I had, I don’t think they needed me, I think there was like, the budget was already approved to like, have somebody in this role. But I had to really on my own, create my own work, but I remember days, I would sit at my desk, and it would be a struggle to stay awake.


Audrey Zander  16:07

There’s only so many things you can research on Google, right for you. Well, out of ideas to research and Google and doing this really brings out the impostor syndrome massively. I started having doubts on my capabilities on what I could offer because nobody wanted anything of what I could offer. So very quickly, I was shut up and shut down. And so it really starts messing with your head as well, in terms of why am I here? Yeah. Are they not good stuff? Because they don’t value me they don’t trust me. So you start really having this very negative internal conversation? Right, which is district cold?


Adam Baruh  16:43

Yeah. Okay, so I want to follow up on that same set of questions I asked before the the one part we didn’t get to yet is that realization that you’re suffering and you’re slow recovery didn’t have to be that way. So how long did you you know, stick with these situations before you kind of had that awareness? Like, you know, this isn’t good for me, I’ve got to go a different direction.


Audrey Zander  17:09

So binds then I had already had that, say, 12-13 years since my realization or question, what does happiness mean to me, so thankfully, I had evolved quite a bit, until then, and learned about myself and something I had learned because of my quest for happiness was if this is not fun for me every day, I’m out. And I had never had massive career ambitions or anything that so freedom was my huge number one value, freedom, whatever that meant geographical jobs, etc. So I knew in both jobs week one, that it wasn’t for me that this was not a good fit that this was not a good idea. But the fear of the CV like your resume, what are what are you going to do with those jobs, and then money, etc. So the first one, the bore out, well, the very first burnout, once my health improved, I stay stayed with the job, and I loved it. And it was amazing that the bore out, I lasted three and a half month, because I cannot be bored. Life is too short. That’s something that I know about myself, if I’m not having fun. I’m out of here. And the money was amazing. Expat contract it but money for me wasn’t enough. So I lasted three and a half months, I had put on so much weight, I was unhappy, again, no social life. So I remember I had started in November. And I was hoping to do at least the six months of the initial trial period where you can resign whenever you want. So this is I think we have mentioned this last time as well. This was in Dubai, in Europe. So the whole working environment and contracts are very different to the US. So there was still flexibility in the first six months for me to leave whenever I wanted to. And I just thought okay, let me do six months so I can rake in the money and then I need to leave before that because otherwise I’m stuck and I’m going once I want to resign I have to stay for a few months. And that just felt like torture. Yeah, I didn’t last the six months New Year’s Eve came about and when I was reflecting on my life like this, don’t do that. This is not me. Life’s too short, this is not okay. And I resigned shortly after that. And it took me eight months, eight months to find the courage and the energy and the motivation to go for another job in the meantime. So it took me a few months of doing absolutely nothing to start wanting to get out again and create a social life and be curious about life again, because it had just drained me so much. And I had done research about what what alternative career paths could I post possibly do didn’t find any answers. So that’s what I mean lack of other better ideas. I’d signed up for yet again another job and day one. I knew it was wrong. Day one. I walked in there as like, Oh, I could just Feel it? I think because depending on who you are you pick up on energies. Right? And it was not. So in both cases, what I discovered on day one was not what I happened sold.


Adam Baruh  20:09

So I’ve definitely yeah, I’ve been there and done that.


Audrey Zander  20:11

Yeah. So I lasted eight months, because of fear. I had already resigned the year prior. I have so struggle, I hadn’t had to find any answers of what I wanted to do with my career and my life. And so I stayed, I stuck with it for eight months, until I went on a holiday on a vacation. And it took me a week to enjoy the vacation out of 10 days. Because I was just so in my head and stomach knotted up, and just so unhappy that I was oblivious to my surroundings to the experience, I was in Israel. And it was, that was very, very important. That amazing trip for me. And I was I just wasn’t there. And I started merging from it. After six, seven days and had a meltdown at the airport, when I had to take my flight back a meltdown. And realizing this, I won’t do this anymore. I can but I won’t. And I got home and I resigned the next day. Yeah. And as soon as I resigned, everything changed, everything shifted. But when I say it didn’t have to be that way. It’s because now through my new career, the coaching, which I finally found, finally found my passion. And it was a leap of faith because I didn’t really know what I was getting into. Now I know, I known about my overall life, vision, my values. My purpose, which is all things I learned through coaching, and my boundaries that all of that informed my boundaries, had I known all of that I would have understood how these jobs fit into my overall life vision. Rather than making it every all about work, I would have understood how can work work for me. Yeah, rather than putting everything into it and not having any balance in the other areas of my life.


Adam Baruh  21:51

Yeah. Do you think you would have that life vision without having had those experiences that you had?


Audrey Zander  21:57

I wouldn’t have the life vision without coaching. That’s what I’d say.


Adam Baruh  22:01

Yeah. I mean, looking back, yeah, looking back at these these jobs that you had, I mean, do you? Do you ever have regrets on that? Or do you look back and think, you know, I kind of needed those experiences to inform me and put me on my path.


Audrey Zander  22:16

They, I don’t think I needed them. Because from from early on, I knew corporate and I were not necessarily a good match. But it worked for me because I had a why I had this bucket list, I wanted to live in all these amazing countries. And work worked for me. So I was able quite easily to be very honest, because of my languages. And it just worked. I found corporate gigs pretty easily wherever I moved to. Once I had ticked off my bucket list, everything crumbled. And the whole why of why was still in corporate didn’t make sense anymore, because now I was in it only for the money. And money is not what makes my world go round. And that’s when everything crashed and collapsed. Because I do corporate values didn’t align with mine. And I was lacking a new life vision. Once I had ticked off the bucket list that was about 35 I didn’t know what next going to work for the sake of work was no fun.


Adam Baruh  23:16

You just led me into a perfect segue, which is you know, I read on your on your website about your bucket list. You’ve described yourself as a bucket list achiever. So yeah, tell us tell us about this bucket list, if you will. And you know what, what was on that list, what you learned, and, you know, during checking off the bucket list goals, and then what you realized when you reached the end of that list?


Audrey Zander  23:40

Well, when I reached it, that’s when I burned out. Because I had no life vision anymore, but it wasn’t necessarily a list. At the beginning, it was that quest for happiness. I made a vow to myself when I turned around that age 22 When I realized how unhappy I was, and I didn’t know what it meant to be happy. My bucket list was I need to I want to find out what happiness means. And that means following my heart following opportunities, fine intuition. I was always a bit of a rebel in terms of not wanting that to live a life on the trodden path. It always was a bit rebellious. I didn’t want the high school college. First job mortgage house but yeah, that wasn’t that wasn’t me. So I set out to experience life, experience life saying yes to things because I could say yes to things because an opportunity came up so I was in the in France at the time, I had an opportunity to go work in London, which was a dream. And the job didn’t wasn’t it that was an investment banking and I found out was not a good fit for investment banking, but I made it work. And then I started dreaming of, hey, I want to check out Australia. So I resigned, packed up my things, all of my stuff and move to Australia to Sydney was no job with hardly any contacts. Then the same set. Once that was done, it was like, Okay, what next? I had been dreaming of Tahiti ever since I had first been there in 22,002. And I was just like, Alright, let me go on vacation and see if I can work things out. So it was always gradual. And in all of these experiences, I started learning more and more about myself, I started. So I went to therapy for several stages of my life. And yoga helped me and I think just all these experiences helped me start afresh with every move, shedding a few layers of skin that I no longer wanted. Yeah, it really helped me closing a chapter once I had learned stuff about myself. Okay. So it’s a bit of escapism, and at the same time, it’s a blank slate, where I could redefine who am I, again, and again and again. And living in these places were and being just swimming with humpback whales in the South Pacific. Wow, skydiving, just all these experiences feeling alive. That’s where I found happiness. That’s where I started finding a life worth living. Where, by bit, I started smiling. I remember turning about 30 and realizing, I think I’m smiling every day genuinely. Yeah, for the first time in my life. It’s not a math, it’s not pretend it’s I actually feel happy and happier and happier. And that was my learning, saying yes. And trying things out, giving myself the opportunity to figure things out. And so yeah, once the so after Tahiti, that was like the cherry on the cake. What do you where do you go after that? Or where do I go after that, and nothing really appealed in the same way. It wasn’t as attractive. So that’s when I returned to Europe and went into these new corporate jobs for lack of a new another idea and burned out, burned out, burned out because I corporate, it was no longer working for me.


Adam Baruh  27:16

Yeah, yeah, it sounds like you were you realize you weren’t living your true self, you were, you know, somewhat, just resigning to what you felt you needed to do in that moment, or money or, you know, kind of realizing later on that some of your decisions were based on fear.


Audrey Zander  27:35

100% and trying to fit in. Because now that I was no longer this Nomad and going around the world. I wanted to try and fit in because I didn’t know what else to do. And that’s where I understood, I don’t have to fit in, I have to find my path, my alternative path. And it still means being part of society. I’m not, I’m not like into being ostracised. That’s not what I’m looking for. But when I say it doesn’t have to be that way, it’s indeed figuring out how does your job how does your career fit into your overall life vision when you’re 18? And look back on your life? What do you want to remember what you want to be proud of what is going to make you smile? Do you know that life vision and when I say life vision, it’s not like that question in interviews? Where will you be in five years? It’s how do you want to feel in five years? Do you want to like who you are, when you look at yourself in the mirror? Who would that person be? And it’s defining that kind of person because that will inform decisions that we take today. It’s kind of like a North Star that life vision then figuring out your values and figuring out what internal saboteur is the negative internal chat that we’ve got that’s holding us back like those fear questions, the money questions, the hyper achieving questions, because we’re trying to prove something. The people pleasing ones who can’t say no, so also get overwhelmed and burnout. So hyper achievers and people pleasers are high on the list of burnout.


Adam Baruh  29:03

Yeah, you just again, you just you’re just queuing up my question so perfectly, because my next question is, alright, so preparing for this interview, I asked you to provide a list of keywords that convey the message you’d like to discuss around burnout. And one of the keywords that you listed was people pleasers. So, for me this has been a lifelong lifelong struggle. So I can relate for sure. So you know, how do you think people pleasers are especially prone to burnout.


Audrey Zander  29:33

So I I like to think I’m better at it again through my 15-16 old on almost 18 year journey since 22. A figuring out who I am and once you Okay, now let me dial back a sec. people pleasers put others first. Others needs others agendas. Because that’s the way they’re wired. I heard and it is a quest for approval and being liked and and being included. And pleasers are very, it’s very difficult for them to say no. When they either they don’t know when they want to say no or because it’s an it’s a reflex that it’s just the way they were, they’re wired. Well, they don’t have the confidence to say no, because fear of rejection. Um, and so they they take on work and they take on work and at home as well. They, they, they’re they very often do a whole lot of stuff and outside of work and personal. So they’re the yes, people and don’t put their own needs first. Yeah. And in long term that can lead to resentment, frustration, lack of inner balance, because there’s no me time because me time equals selfishness. And feeling guilty, because we’re spending time on ourselves when we could be should be others are expecting us to do things for them, because we trained them that we will. So it’s all and this all comes back when we again, through coaching. That’s how I learned about all this stuff. That’s for you. What are your needs? Self Care does not mean selfish, you can do two things in parallel, put the oxygen mask on the airplane analogy on you first, before you can help others. What is your life vision? What do you want in life? How are you going to achieve that? And how can you carve out time for yourself whilst helping others because you are that kind of person you enjoy doing that. But at work? You’re the one that managers give projects to? Because they know you’ll say yes, and they know you’ll figure it out.


Adam Baruh  31:41

Right? Yeah, that can definitely lead to burnout by in exactly how you just described that latter point, which is that other people start to take advantage that perhaps and they they know that you’re that you’ll just fall in line with that. And you know, the more people pleasers just accept these things without stepping up and saying anything, it will lead to burnout. That’s what happened with me. I mean, I don’t know, it’s a sense of duty thing or obligation, or perhaps my vision for how I thought as a father and husband, like what my role was, was to provide and take care of my family. You know, I kind of, you know, went my whole life putting that first Yeah, and I mean, only, you know, I’ll tell you, it’s only really been in the last year where I started to learn, you know, what, I actually have a right to be happy, I have a right to take care of myself.


Audrey Zander  32:40

And when you become happy, there’s this incredible, beautiful, magical ripple effect on all the people around you. Exactly. You model what it means to set boundaries to take care of yourself to be happy to be fulfilled, to laugh to dream, and others want to follow that. Right. So so it really does start within with an we train others of how to what to expect from us. So when when people pleaser say, yes, yes, yes. Are hyper achievers. They go go go more, more more. While others expect that. So how do you get out of that cycle? Because you train them to and then that resentment can start building up until you explode and burnout? Or what? Mental Health declines? What does it take for you to speak up and say, Hey, what about me?


Adam Baruh  33:32

Yeah, I’m curious what this looks like, you know, for you and your clients that you coach, because I’ll relate to you that, you know, when I started to ask for my ask permission, and I know, that’s probably even a wrong statement, but Well, not necessarily ask permission, even though that’s probably what I was doing. But you know, just I didn’t even really know how to approach my wife just to say like, Hey, listen, I, I can’t like I’m at 0%, I would I really kind of need some time right now. Like, I didn’t know how to do it. It was it was difficult. And so, you know, I still was letting myself get to the 0%. And then kind of like having a little mini meltdown. And so I’m curious, you know, when you’re coaching people, how do you teach them to recognize that the signs have to have that self awareness, and then also the communication part of just informing people around you when you need your own space and time?


Audrey Zander  34:31

Yes. So what I do now, actually, is I combined so when I worked in corporate I was in corporate communications, so I worked. Comms has always been my world probably even before I started working, it’s just something in me. And it became better through work and then coaching self awareness. So I observed so much, and I’ll get to the client part in a sec. But when we observe organizations, how leaders communicate or miscommunicate informs so much of what happens within the whole company, the culture. I worked with CEOs, who it’s a generation that I call old white dinosaurs. The classic stereotype 5060 year old white guy who thinks, who has a massive ego, and who thinks that the world revolves around him, and has temper a terrible temper and doesn’t care how it impacts others, it’s his way or the highway. And I’ve seen leaders yell and put people down and not care about it whatsoever. And then two minutes later, they’re calm and lamb and super nice. And this hot, cold attitude is terrible, it’s toxic. Hopefully, it’s getting better. Things are evolving. But so communication is so important. In terms of clients, it all starts with that vision setting. So first of all, I start with an exercise called the wheel of life where we really look at every aspect of the client’s life meaning Yes, work personal life, relationships, friends, physical environment, physical environment, know the Where do you where you live, sports, hobbies, fun spirituality, all of these things that they I asked them to rank to great from one to 10 How is this showing up for you in your life? Right now? How fulfilled Are you on that already informs them a lot of where are maybe areas that are not working for them? And then there’s that balance. Okay, maybe now you’ve got a bit of an explanation or an inside a snapshot of where you are right now. And we can then start working on where, which areas are we going to focus on on this current coaching journey for you to make it better? Then we work on that life vision. And when I say that, as I mentioned before, it’s about how do you want to feel? I take them through different exercises, guided visualization, visualizations, questions about how do you envision your life, and I’m not saying I don’t want to know what your job will be, your title will be, I don’t want to know where you’re going to live. I want to know who you are going to be. So we work on the values of all these things, then create their boundaries, because then they know that you’re how and when to say yes or no, because when they’re over stepped, they know this is not going to benefit them. But they now understand why. So it makes it a bit easier to speak up and communicate because now you can explain why you’re saying no, or why you need help, or why you need me time, which is very easy for everybody important, but pleaser is even more so they feel they need to justify themselves. So when you can put it into context and say, Hey, I’m, I need this time for me right now. Because my values or this part of my this area of my life is not fulfilled. Or this is not leading me to my life vision. But just gives confidence. That’s what it’s kind of like an enlightenment moment of understanding who they are at a deeper level. When did they get off Caf? To feel the way they’re feeling right now. And it gives hope, again, it gives a direction it gives this kind of North Star feeling of right, I now know when to say yes, what actions to take what decisions to take to fall back into that line, that direction that I really want a need for myself. Yeah, and that makes communication easier. Speaking up becomes easier because you have a ground stand on, you know, who you are, who you want to be. And that just makes it easier. Whereas before when you don’t know your vision, your values, your strengths, when to delegate all these things. It’s very difficult to say no, because you don’t know why you Why would you say no, you’ve handled it so far. So alright, let’s keep going.


Adam Baruh  38:43

Oh, yeah, I can 100% relate to that. Alright, so in describing yourself on your website, you use the following terms. And I love these so I definitely this is why I’m bringing it up. I think this is this points to you know, the the fun in life that you’ve said, you know, that’s really what it comes down to for you. Alright, so in identifying yourself, people lover, relationship builder, empathetic optimist, animal cuddler loyal Nomad, dancing mermaid dream catcher. So I have another multiple part question for you. Um, you know, as I mentioned, you’ve already described yourself here today that you know, the focus for you is on fun and just happiness, right? You’ve described yourself as a girl who just wants to have fun like Cindy. So I love that reference. When I read that. I can see how being a loyal Nomad and the dancing mermaid reflect that. So tell us a little bit about how you use play and having fun to help prevent burnout for yourself.


Audrey Zander  39:51

I love that question. Let me just take a moment to think whenever fun was no longer present. I burned out In a nutshell I think when I had that realization at 22, that I didn’t know what happiness meant to me and I didn’t like who I was. And I went really went out on that quest to change that. Been, I don’t know, it’s just what is life without fun? What is life when you’re just following obligations and paying the bills? What are we here for? That’s always been I think that’s always been part of who I am as a girl. I wanted to have fun. I was dancing around and just I love making people smile. I love connecting people I love being connected. And I need it in every every single one of my days if it’s not present, okay, if you understand why it’s not present right now there’s there are reasons there’s morning there’s all the there’s health there’s of course there are days and weeks, but when you know it’s temporary, when you know, it doesn’t make you who you are. It doesn’t mean that it’s completely out of your life. Okay, you can justify you can explain but what is life without fun? I don’t it’s something I do not get that that vow. So another vow and promise I had made to myself was to live a life and no regret life for one. But one way or the day, I have kids and grandkids I can tell them stories without opening a book. I wanted to live I wanted to enjoy life. I still want to all the time. And so bringing fun is being silly dance like no one’s watching. When I coach people, we laugh, there are emotions, there’s crying, there’s anger, there’s laughter, it’s it’s really showing up and I can even hear it in my energy and my voice as I’ve talked about fun. Honestly, what is life without fun? Why would you choose that. And it is a choice, it is a choice life can be really, really bad at times. Yet, you can always bring a smile to it, you can always bring a bit of spark to it. It’s a choice. It’s a perspective. And it influences our energy, our mood, our decisions, everything. But this is where I mean, I’ve come such a long way because in my 20s I had all these demons, I had the that terrible timber. The all the things that I was trying to shift out of but didn’t have an understanding of and I regularly felt like a dark cloud descending on me where I would lose control completely of my entire being and I would lash out and be nasty, and hurt people I loved. And then once it was out of me is like, Alright, I’m good and didn’t understand what other people are with people that were on the receiving and it wasn’t over for them. And all these things. I don’t want that anymore. I don’t want that. And it’s long gone. Thank goodness. It just is it’s a choice. It’s very hard to get out of on our own. Yes, you can read the books, you can watch the videos, you can listen to the podcasts. But getting that outside perspective, to help you probe and and just dive into why is this happening? What is triggering you? Where does this stem from? What is it saying about you? And then it’s choice choice choice? What do you choose? Do you choose to stay in that? Do you choose to get out of it? without blaming others? Do you what do you choose today? And I choose one?


Adam Baruh  43:19

Yeah, there’s a couple of things that came up to me as you were, as you were just talking, um, you know, because I can relate to what you’re saying. And I think, you know, in those moments where, you know, I let the challenges kind of take over, there was a storyline happening, like in my mind that things were working against me that I was a victim, you know, that this is how things were, I can’t have fun because I have too many responsibilities. So, you know, that’s one thing I wanted to touch on with you is just, you know, how the storyline sometimes plays out in our head and we forget, and we don’t allow ourselves to have fun because we think we’re living by a narrative. And then the second part of this, that I wanted to mention, was, you know, simply just thinking that we’re a victim, you know, thinking that thinking that we are our emotions, you know, and I, I’ve heard this come up repeatedly. And I’ve it’s played out for me where, you know, where there’s been periods of time that were challenging. I thought that my, my anger defined me. So yeah, if you want to kind of touch on those two parts.


Audrey Zander  44:37

Yeah, not a proud moment when we realize and choose that our anger defines us. It’s not attractive. So yeah, the victim thing I was I hid behind it for years. I’m blaming my father for why I was the way I was while I was lashing out why I was making choices and I remember my partner at the time, who was on the receiving And of those dark moments, one day turned around and said, You are not your father, you are an adult. How long do you want to keep this dragging him along with you, you can choose to be different and that are my word on like, this was the first time in my life, I realized I have a choice. I think I was 2029. I had been dragging my father along with me, I was trying to distance myself, but I didn’t know how to. I didn’t have tools. I didn’t have guides, I didn’t know about coaching back then. When he said that to me. Wow. And that rattled me a lot. But it also there was that fear of Oh, my goodness, who am I then if I’m not this person anymore, right? Because that’s also scary. Who are you when you start shifting out of that identity? Because you don’t again, don’t have that life vision yet, who do you want to become? Who do you want start growing towards that being into the whole victim thing, the blaming others, it’s hiding behind what we know, it’s hiding behind an identity. And all of this is called the it’s the saboteurs. And like the hyper achiever, the people pleaser, the victim there are there’s a concept and other training that I went through called Positive Intelligence that describes that and there’s actually a free online assessment. If you go to positive, you can do a survey of about 510 minutes, and it will rank your Saboteurs. Because we all have saboteurs. It’s those internal negative voices that we created as children or teenagers to protect us from real or imagined physical or emotional harm. So there was a reason. And then as adult as adults, we were never taught to unlearn them when we wouldn’t work. And we were able to defend ourselves. And that is what informs our narratives. That is the storyline we tell ourselves that we hide behind because they’ve become so familiar that we don’t realize they’re negative or toxic or holding us back or making us act in that way. And every negative emotion is linked triggered by several tours. And the ones that are like, I know, my top ones are avoider controller, they play against each other, it’s just there’s this whole world going on inside our head that we’re not necessarily aware of. And that’s what informs our storyline until we are taught or understand that we can change that, that it doesn’t mean that it has to define us, right? So there’s that whole sub term kind of work happening and the victim one is a huge one. It’s very toxic because we use it to gain attention, affection, but as manipulative as blaming others rather than ends giving our power away. Yeah, so again, what is life when you’re giving your power away? Exactly. Learned stop, stepped into who you want to be, you have so much more power, you’re so much more than blaming others.


Adam Baruh  47:51

Yep. And I I’ve had a guest on the show. Her name is Samantha J. I had her on a couple of episodes ago, she wrote this book called stand up, speak up. And she she basically said the same thing that you just said, she described that that saboteur action, as you know, within us as being this sabotaging drama king or queen that, you know, is just out to do away with the positive work that we’re doing. Right? She didn’t use those words, but it’s just the storyline that plays out that, that we spend a lot of time resisting. You know, at least for her, it was just, you know, recognizing, what is the sabotaging drama king or queen within me trying to inform me of and instead of resisting that, that energy, it’s like, having a self awareness to it, and then having having an awareness to, to look at what it’s trying to teach us. So I thought that was interesting that you touched on that as well.


Audrey Zander  48:54

That’s super interesting. There’s ways and this is probably the main work I do with clients is overcoming those so starting to be aware of them, figuring out when when are you triggered? When do they show up? What are the kinds of sentences they say to you what energy and emotions do they trigger? And then understanding in this situation, are they serving me or are they sabotaging me because sometimes they are serving you, but you have to know when because again, it comes down to choice, everything’s down to choice. And then we work on that. That’s what’s called Positive Intelligence. It’s rewiring the brain to positive thoughts, and that takes time and it takes work. It’s super worth it. But it’s kind of like when you go to the gym, you can’t go once and do crunches and expect a six pack all these decades that we’ve spent entertaining those negative self sabotaging thoughts that keep us in our comfort zone because they show up whenever we’re trying to stretch ourselves or grow or start taking risks or a leap of faith or change. That’s when they come up because they want to keep us safe. Yeah, and overcoming them. A simple trick for me is instead of leaning into and thinking of all the ways that things can go wrong, ask yourself what’s the best that can happen? Right. And just that alone is so powerful because it tunes into all the amazingness that can happen. And that will inform her energy or emotions. And it gives you a bit of a kick in terms of let me try this out.


Adam Baruh  50:18

Yeah, I’d like to shift gears a little bit. And circle back to the work that you’re doing today. As a coach, I understand you do one on one coaching, group coaching and leadership coaching and that you also focus on empowering women. So tell us a little bit more about that, if you will.


Audrey Zander  50:34

Thank you. Yeah. Um, so yes, interestingly, I have started going back to organizations and corporate, I needed my timeout. And now I just think through my experience, the communications experience, and then my burnouts, and so on, I work with them really closely now, either in groups, or leadership individuals, or just, we co create programs. And it’s all about retaining clients, or retaining talent, if you don’t have to burn out and leave like I did. Once you start understanding why you’re in this job and remembering why you got in there in the first place. It’s about balancing things out. And the, the organization doesn’t have to lose their top talents. It’s about how are the leaders communicating how so all these things are really worked closely with organizations now. And it’s become so fun, because I bring in an external point of view and my expertise now and methodologies, and it’s fun. And with individuals, it’s depending on what it is that they want to work through right now. And it can be burnout, it can be life vision, it can be confidence is. So there’s a whole bunch of topics. And with women, I’m just so passionate. So I worked in investment banking for a few years. And it’s a very male dominated industry. I also saw how my mother was impacted my father’s first not in character I saw I see girlfriends, I see female colleagues, all this not speaking up the boundaries, everything we were taught and told as girls do not make waves to sit in to think before we speak, and it has influenced women’s careers massively, massively. There are even female leaders who tiptoe around the block. And it makes my blood boil because it doesn’t have to be that way. And it works. So I work I’ve got a program a group programs specifically for women, where we touch on all the topics the recurring topics that women have been coming to me for over the years, which has to do with the sabotaging the money, mindset, women and money, a huge topic. Self Care, a huge topic communication. So all these things that we work through together, and I support organizations with that I do it privately as well. So that to give women a better chance at speaking up and reaching their full potential while staying true to who they are. And working with men in raising their awareness about how their communication style and how they show up might be impacting women around them without them even knowing. So it’s just it’s kind of like a full circle when it comes to female empowerment. Yeah,


Adam Baruh  53:17

Great. As we wrap up here today, where can people find out more about your work and get connected with you?


Audrey Zander  53:24

So I’m very present on LinkedIn. So if you search Audrey Zander, I’m quite lucky that there are not many Audrey Zanders in the world. So AudreyZander.comand my website or email Those are just just reach out, I offer a complimentary 45 minute inspiration call where we get to meet each other and just co create whatever it is that I might support you with?


Adam Baruh  53:52

Well, from a place of low self worth to burnout and bore out to now coaching and dedicating yourself to helping others I know the work that you do today is having a positive impact. So Audrey, thank you for being my guest here today and for sharing your journey with us.


Audrey Zander  54:06

Thank you so much, Adam. Thank you. This was really interesting. And I can’t believe I hate that first question. You write back to age 22. And the why so yeah. And I think that also, just to finish off, if people are unhappy today, think back what happened? Why is your storyline the way it is? me it was my father. For others. It’s something else that might have happened. But it’s okay to detach yourself from that and write a new chapter. What would the title be?


Adam Baruh  54:38

Yeah, always a new chapter. There’s always a future to reinvent and and write the chapter and just to know that we are the author of our own book. Nobody else is writing our story for us.


Audrey Zander  54:49

No, we might think they are. But that’s again, giving our power away. Take it back. Take it back.


Adam Baruh  54:56

Yes. Perfect. Well, with that, we’ll close again. Thank you so much.


Audrey Zander  55:00

Thanks, Adam.


Adam Baruh  55:02

Audrey Zander spent 13 years in the corporate communications world lived in 10 countries is trilingual, ticked off her bucket list by the age of 35, and is now an entrepreneur empowering others to seek and live a fulfilled and balanced life via coaching. Having enjoyed several different lives, with many ups and downs, professional, emotional and health challenges, and getting through them all with a fierce lust for life and happiness, and a lot of self reflection and a desire to grow. Audrey is now passionate about helping others go for their dreams and create the life and career they want and deserve. Audrey is a professionally certified coach accredited by the International Coaching Federation, coaching individuals privately and leaders and teams and organizations. You can read more about Audrey on our website, Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Sufritti you can listen to more of Shane’s music at If you have a story to share about burnout or if you want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at Thank you all for listening. We’ll see you next time on The Change.


EIQ Media, LLC  56:15

The Changeis produced and distributed by EIQ Media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and constant focused on leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship and more.