Yup, “KIT” stands for “keep in touch”
(Do they still write those in high school yearbooks nowadays? It’s been a while…)

If you are someone who wears the badge “workaholic” so proudly or maybe a little unwillingly, this show is for you. If you have been working so hard to make money to build a lifestyle that you want but you haven’t had time to enjoy it and you want to find your own work-life balance, this show is also for you. If you frequently use the excuse, “I wish I could do that if I had time,” yah, you and this show are a match. If you feel like you don’t own your own life because of the obligations that you have and the expectations that are carried from society or other people around you, this show is so needed for you! Dear Workaholics, this show’s host Kat Nieh dedicates this podcast to you and gives us a peek into the life of a transformed workaholic and why you need to properly channel your amazing work ethic into creating a life you’re truly passionate about.

Listen to the podcast here:

[ Episode 1 ] I’m dedicating this podcast to you

Find out why I’m starting this podcast, learn a little about me, and what to expect for future episodes.

Who is this podcast for?

In this first episode, you’ll find out why I’m starting this. I’ll share a little bit about me and also what to expect in future episodes.

So who is this show for? This is for you if…

  • You are someone who wears the badge “workaholic” so proudly or maybe a little unwillingly.
  • You have no work-life balance. You have been working so hard to make money, to build a lifestyle that you want, but you haven’t had time to enjoy it and you want to find your own work-life balance.
  • You have to dedicate all your time and your life to feeling fulfilled or filling an emptiness in your life.
  • You frequently use the excuse: “I wish I could do that if I had time.” You admire other people for doing it because you don’t know how to carve out the time for yourself to take care of your own mental and physical wellbeing.
  • You cannot detach yourself during your free time. You’re often still connected to your devices and it feels like you’re always on call for work even if you’re required to or not. You want to be able to learn how to set boundaries with the work. You want to lessen the guilt or fear that you have when you do step away to focus on yourself. To feel like you have to give yourself permission to have free time.
  • You feel like you don’t own your own life, because of the obligations that you have and the expectations that are carried from society or other people around you. When you tried to do something different, you feel discouraged by people around you so you feel trapped or helpless. I know you still hold on to that little spark of hope and that desire that there’s something out there for you that you’re meant to be doing that will make you feel so much more fulfilled in your life. I want to tell you that it’s possible.

That was me

You could even be the type of workaholic who absolutely loves your job. You wake up every morning so excited for work, and you’re constantly running on that passion and that dedication that you have for it. I know that so well and all of these because that was me. Yup, I am absolutely a workaholic to my core.

Before I left, I loved my job. I felt so fulfilled as I was doing such a large variety of different things and projects across different areas of a company. It was exactly what made me thrive: I was constantly growing and learning new things. I was so excited about the next thing I’ll get to do and how I’ll make an impact on the company, to the brand, and for the community that we’re serving. I loved the people that I’ve worked with. Everyone was so passionate about what we were doing. All of us believed in this common goal. We were like family. We worked hard, and we’re running on our passion to build this product and to serve the community. Because of that, we are able to push through any of the challenges we had. We’re able to make the impossible possible. Even through all this love, dedication and this passion I had for the company, I was burned out.

You have the option and the power to walk away from any situation that isn't serving you anymore. Click To Tweet

Do you know that phrase, “spread as thin as a pancake?” I was thinner than that. A better way of describing it was I was as thin as a crepe. To describe that even more accurately, I was a burnt, brown, crispy crepe because I gave more than 120% to the company willingly. I gave my blood, sweat, tears, heart, soul and everything I got for it because I absolutely believed in what I was doing and I loved what I was doing. Because of that, I sacrificed my own mental and physical health.

I was the workaholic that absolutely lived and breathed my job. The first thing I did in the morning was checked my email and my Slack messages to make sure I was on top of everything and handling everything on spot. The last thing I did before I went to bed was check my email and my Slack messages to make sure everything was handled and figured out before I went to sleep. I was so hypersensitive to each little vibration my phone made, and that little red dot over the app icon! I just had to press it each time it showed up. I couldn’t resist myself, because I wanted to get things handled and figured out. I wanted to take care of everything on the spot. It was because of this compulsion that even though I loved my job and what I was doing, I hit my limit. All the stress I was putting on myself, the workload that was given to me and imposed by myself, and all the different hats I was gladly wearing, I could feel myself getting more and more drained to the point that I wanted to continue getting, but I couldn’t anymore.

Ok, this isn’t a photo of a burnt crepe, but I thought an unhappy burnt toast would work just as well to illustrate where I was at. That was the sad part—I wasn’t happy anymore at somewhere that used to bring me so much joy.

Hitting My Rock Bottom

Lots of stuff was happening with the company as we continued to grow, which was amazing, but at the same time, we were definitely experiencing growing pains. With all that stress, all that overgiving, and that lack of taking better care of myself, I hit my rock bottom and how I knew was because in November 2016, I got this thing called vertigo. I’ve never gotten vertigo before, so I had no idea what that sensation was that I was feeling. When I got up where the entire room was spinning. I couldn’t even think. I went to the doctor, and I was hoping the doctor would give me some relief. The doctor told me, “You’ve got vertigo.” I’m like, “Great, what’s the medicine for this?” To my surprise, to this day and age, there is no medicine for vertigo! The only medicine is rest. Isn’t that funny that my body prescribed the medicine that I needed the most by giving me vertigo was rest? That is what I needed. I rested for a few days, so I felt a lot better. But I went back to my old patterns. Well, I did change a little bit as I knew that I couldn’t continue doing what I was doing anymore. I switched positions in the company hoping that would relieve some of the stress and put me in a better state as I started doing more of what I used to enjoy doing.

Fast forward, another year goes by. It is now November 2017, and I got vertigo again. Now, that got me concerned. I went to the doctor again going, “What is going on? Do I have something to worry about? Do I have some underlying condition that I need to be concerned about?” The doctor said, “No, everything looks fine. You’re healthy except for having vertigo.” Ugh, I did what was prescribed again, which is rest. That made me think this time around, “Why is this happening? Why exactly a year later?” I realized I need to make a major change in my life, because I couldn’t continue doing what I was doing anymore. This was my turning point.

Channel all that dedication and that amazing work ethic you have into something that totally lights you up. Click To Tweet

My turning point

After I got better, I was driving to work. I was a little bit on autopilot, because I was thinking about the project I was working on. Then suddenly, this thought popped into my head: “I’m going to put in my notice today.” I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Where did that come from?” That was a scary thought, but that felt so good. It felt amazing knowing that I had the option and the power to walk away from this situation that wasn’t serving me anymore. I could walk away from something that I was no longer aligned to who I want to be and what I want to do anymore. That thought gave me such a massive wave of relief as if I dropped this massive boulder off my shoulder. That just felt so good! “Yah, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do that.” And that’s what I did.

I went to my manager, and I had a conversation with him. I couldn’t just leave because I just inherited an amazing team of designers, and I wanted to do right by them as well. I stayed on a little bit longer just to make sure they were taken care of and to make sure my projects were all handled and properly transferred off to someone else. As I started sharing the news that I was leaving, people kept asking me, “So where are you going next?” I responded, “I’m not going anywhere else or looking for another job. I am taking a year off.” They’re like, “That’s awesome. What are you going to do after that?” I’m like, “I have no idea.” And that was a scary thought of me taking a year off and also trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I felt like I was taking the road less traveled. I didn’t have anyone else to model to help me figure out what I could be doing next. I just went with the flow. It became one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It all started off with leaving my job and finally walking away.

My whole life in front of me

I felt amazing, especially the first morning or right after when I woke up and I did not have to go into work. It was such a great feeling that I didn’t have to deal with any of that stress anymore. I had my whole life in front of me, and I can do absolutely anything I wanted!

So what did I do in that year? I started off by taking more personal development courses, because I wanted to work on myself. I wanted to rebuild myself from the foundation up, and change all the mindsets and anything that was holding me back from doing what I wanted to do. I took A LOT of personal development courses. By the end of the twelve months, I counted eighteen personal development courses. I hired coaches because I needed help in all aspects of my life. The highest record was probably eight or nine at the same time for different parts of my life. I didn’t recommend that. It got a little confusing, but it was what I needed.

The most important part was I got to do all the things I wanted to do. Not all of them, but a good chunk of them that I created my outrageous desires list, which is my term for a bucket list. But it is less morbid, and a lot more exciting and fun. That led me to go to all seven continents within twelve months because that was one of my outrageous desires.

My outrageous desire “travel to all 7 continents within a year” polaroid over my Scratch the World Travel Map.

I wanted to go to all the continents and I ended the twelve months in Antarctica, which was an absolutely epic trip. I did all these extreme things for me to recover from burnout, to find myself again, and learn how to accept myself for who I am. Also, I had to figure out what I wanted to do next, because I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t imagine going back, doing the same thing, and giving my heart and soul like I did for another company. I couldn’t put myself to that level of stress and burn out anymore. I realized that I am someone who cannot separate passion for my job. I knew this before I left and that is also a part of the reason why I left. I wanted to be passionate about what I’m doing, and I could no longer muster up enough passion to go back and do what I was doing before, even though I did it well.

What I want to do

“What did I want to do?” That was the question that was running through my mind during my year off. During that year, I also became a certified life coach. I absolutely saw and realized how much my coaches were helping me, so I wanted to help other people in that same way or even better. Because ultimately, when I looked back, continued seeing my friends, and meeting people who were at that state or some form of a workaholic, I knew that is what I wanted to do—I wanted to help you. I’m just a few steps ahead of you, but I wanted to turn around and help you and lift you up. My heart has been with all of you still even while I was taking my time off.

I want to share with you all the shortcuts, the learnings and the things I’ve experienced on my abnormal but very adventurous journey to finding myself. I’m not saying you have to do it in this exact way—not at all. You need to find out what works for you. I knew I had to go into the extremes to make it work for me, but I wanted to show you and share with you what I learned. This is why I’m developing this show, and what to expect in future episodes as I will share with you my experiences, the things I struggled with and continued struggling with, and what I have done to overcome them. Like you, I am a constant work in progress. Know that we’ll be getting through these things together. An easy fix is to work less, but can you easily flip that switch in order to overcome the burnout or even prevent it? You need to find out what lies under all that compulsion to work much.

This isn’t another productivity hack or time management show. I’ll give you some of those tips as well, but I’m approaching it from a mindset point of view. I want to help you channel all that dedication and that amazing work ethic you have into something that totally lights you up. I want you to rekindle your passion for life again. I’ll also be interviewing other fellow workaholics who have achieved successes in their life and who have managed to find that amazing work-life balance. If you like everything that I’ve shared so far, be sure to click on that subscribe button so you can stay tuned to the future episodes ahead. Thank you.

You got this and I’m here with you.

Sincerely, Kat