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Are You Heading for Burnout?

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Leadership of your Wellness Part 1 of 2

with Dr. Ashley Margeson ND

Pivotal Coaching’s clients are high growth and change oriented leaders. They fit a profile. Most of them have lots of energy, are fueled to work hard, are big thinkers, move fast and can handle lots of information. They can make those around them feel rushed and at times make them work too hard to catch up. They are constantly busy and living full lives with very full schedules. All work in a stressed state daily. As knowledge workers, their bodies are the engine. As I like to say to my clients, even Ferraris need to stop for fuel and maintenance. Ferraris can’t run on the red line all the time.

It was at an event that Dr. Ashley Margeson and I had our first conversation about where our work overlaps. What do a leadership coach and an executive health coach have to talk about? We both want to help our clients do their best work and lead successful lives. She shared with me her philosophy for how she works with her clients; it resonated with me. I’ve asked her to share her 4 key Cornerstones so we can all benefit.

Let’s start with Part 1 of her insights.


Every day I work with women and men who are balancing whatever life throws at them. I’m Dr. Ashley (or just Ashley as my patients call me) and I’m an executive health coach, burnout buster and naturopathic doctor. My partner and I own Cornerstone Naturopathic, one of Canada’s leading regenerative health clinics, and we know a little something about thriving in the middle of chaos. With a little help from Lisa, I’m going to walk you through what burnout actually is, how to do something about it and the 4 key Cornerstones you need to implement in order to thrive, enjoy life and FINALLY feel rested.

Picture this.

You wake up in the morning 5 minutes ahead of your alarm, feeling rested and rejuvenated. Your kids, partner and/or dog wake up and move through their morning routine without you having to hound them and you leave the house without rushing into the car. You get to the office, your communal workspace or wherever you and your laptop have decided to park yourself today and you get to work. Drafting a proposal, responding to emails, designing a new system or igniting change. You pause, you breathe, you are able to respond to urgent needs without your heart rate increasing and you’re thriving on your morning coffee. You go home at the end of the day, make a meal that is nutritionally balanced (at least 80% of the time), spend some quality time with your kids, partner, parents or in-laws before settling into your evening routine and falling into a dead sleep, not seeing the clock until you wake the next morning - again feeling refreshed.

Does this sound like something that is virtually unattainable?

Our modern-day world has somehow managed to confuse “hard work” with “always working” and burnout is at the precipice of every single high functioning person in North America. And no - I’m not making that up.

What exactly is burnout?

Burnout is a colloquial term we use to describe the juggling act of seemingly having it all together. Let’s be completely honest with each other here - no one has it all together, everyone drops balls and we all make mistakes. When we’re closing in on burnout, the most typical thing that I see in practice is that little things are all of a sudden a BIG. DEAL.

Forgot to send an email? The world is ending. Forgot your kid’s lunch? Insert swear word here. The phone rings at the wrong time? All you can think about is, “I really don’t need this right now”. When your fuse seems like it’s getting shorter and shorter, you’re getting closer and closer to just going, “I’m done”.

When you start feeling like that it’s easy to reach for external sources to help us out. An extra cup (or 2!) of coffee to get you started in the morning, plus another to stave off that afternoon crash (along with something sweet to match that craving). Reaching for a glass of wine at the end of the day; not because you want a glass, but because you NEED a glass (just 1!) to turn off your brain, chill you out, relax you. Being exhausted when you get home, but then getting that second wind just before bed. So you use your progesterone cream, up an anti-depressant dosage or high dose that melatonin to hopefully get 3 hours of sleep, before you wake up at 2am wired and unable to go back to sleep. Let’s not even talk about that lack of sex drive, craving those potato chips, not waking up rested and having absolutely no motivation or desire to do anything other than sit on the couch and have nobody ask you a question, touch you or talk to you for 3 minutes.

Welcome to burnout. Welcome to busy.


Because when you’re a high functioning executive your body thinks that it’s running away from a bear. We haven’t evolved past that instinct known as fight or flight (or freeze!) and we have to train our bodies to adapt to a new way of living. You CAN run at a high level (an extremely high level even) without sacrificing your body to do so. This is where my 4 Cornerstones of Health come into play.

Are you relating to this, ignoring the symptoms or seeing the signs in someone else? I see it often in my clients. When I see it, we spend time on their health and wellness.


Dr. Ashley has shown us the extreme of our health situation, and our potential health opportunities. How realistic is a burnout situation to deal with for someone who is so busy they have no time for anything extra? How will these busy red-lining leaders regain control of their health and wellness? What will force them to make a change?

Will your body tell you when it’s had enough, or will you step in to lead your health? There’s more to this story.

Keep reading to Part 2


Dr. Ashley Margeson, ND is one of Canada’s foremost experts in burnout, work-life integration and living a purpose filled life. She and her partner run Cornerstone Naturopathic, a regenerative medicine clinic focused on enhancing the quality of life for driven and hardworking individuals. Dr. Ashley is the host of the highly anticipated podcast, The Superwoman Code, launching in November 2019 and can be found online at


Lisa W. Haydon is a high business acumen leader, credentialed sales professional, and executive coach. Lisa has led teams and clients in industries such as banking, commercial lending, capital markets, technology, consulting, and professional services. Her hands-on experience in executing change and growth mandates enhances client results. She is known for delivering transformational results with diagnostic tools, consulting and coaching.

Lisa is the founder of Pivotal Coaching, which specializes in sales effectiveness and leadership development services for companies optimistic and ambitious about growth. More information is available on the Pivotal Coaching website. For more on its proprietary diagnostic tool, visit our services page.

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