Number One Bestseller
Fast-tracked to director level in the competitive world of finance, Deborah Bulcock explains how she recovered from burnout to launch a new career and a bestselling book
After years of pushing it to the max in a high-performance work environment, consistently working 60 plus hours a week, Lancashire-born Deborah Bulcock hit rock bottom with burnout.
But, every cloud has a silver lining and now Deborah has become a global best selling author after her book, ‘Have It All Without Burning Out’ went straight to number one in the Amazon bestseller charts.
A former student at Nelson and Colne College, Deborah gained a degree in Industrial Economics from Nottingham, going on to study for a Masters in Corporate Strategy and Governance.
She then embarked on a graduate placement scheme with one of the UK’s leading banks working on project and programme management.
Excelling in all aspects of her work with consistent glowing appraisals, promotions came in quick succession and at the age of 27 she was the youngest person to reach the management grade she was at, in the history of the company at the time.
Deborah says: “It did raise a few eyebrows and put me firmly in the spotlight.
“I was fast-tracked to director level. With two business degrees, boundless energy and bundles of ambition, success came quickly.”
As a director in the fast-paced, male dominated Financial Services industry Deborah worked hard to prove herself. In 2000, having moved back north to Manchester with the same company, Deborah continued to rise through the ranks, managing up to 1000 bank employees.
“I was at a very senior level working to implement changes. I had to deliver them working with other people in leadership roles. I had found my niche.”
The next 10 years saw Deborah working in similar senior roles within various financial institutions.
“Looking back, I was exhausted throughout my thirties, but you keep pushing on. You take a holiday or time off and think you’ll go back to work feeling refreshed, but I began to realise that I didn’t feel energised any more.
“I could function at work, it was like putting a mask on, I was confident and I seemed okay on the surface. I was managing hundreds of people so you have to be at the top of your game, but when I came home and shut the door I was good for nothing.”
In 2012 she hit rock bottom and experienced the full force of burnout: “I came in from work and I sat at the bottom of the stairs, head in my hands, tears flowing. I realised that all my reserves had gone.
“Everything hurt, my bones hurt. I felt mentally and physically exhausted.”
Deborah consulted doctors, had blood tests, but got no answers: “I had no zest for life, I didn’t have an ounce of energy, but all tests came back within normal range. Eventually I decided to go down my own path.
“I realised I had to take control and look at how I was nourishing my body and mind, along with how I was choosing to live my life. There have been lots of twists and turns as I have navigated this new way of living. I now let my intuition guide me rather than being overly-analytical and corporate – and that is so refreshing! It’s so important that we all tune in to what’s right for us.”
As part of taking control of her own health and wellbeing, Deborah cut down her working hours going part-time in her senior role and went back to college in Manchester to study. In 2015 she graduated and her new career path was born – as a coach and nutritional therapist.
With a mission to help others thrive in work and life, Deborah left her job, moved out of her city centre pad and relocated back to the country, in the small hamlet of Sough in Pendle, where she was born.
Having experienced corporate life and subsequent burnout, and having navigated her way back to good health, Deborah feels she is in the ideal position to advise, coach and help others to identify stress when it strikes and how to deal with it.
Giving presentations throughout the UK and offering private consultations, she explains: “Sometimes just small adjustments are needed to help combat stress. People are often spinning too many plates and that can be overwhelming.
“Symptoms can range from lack of sleep, food cravings and hormonal imbalance. If we are finding it difficult to cope at work, this may well be reflected in relationships at home. Everything is inter-connected.”
In the summer of 2019 Deborah completed her book ‘Have It All Without Burning Out’. “I already had the content in my head so it didn’t take long to write. I knew I had a story to tell and it was very cathartic.”
The book maps Deborah’s corporate life and tracks her journey into burnout and her subsequent recovery. It also features many heart-warming case studies and testimonials by people who Deborah has coached and advised.
“I try to help people implement change – that’s what I excel at. But it’s no good setting unachievable targets. It needs to be easy to implement, so you need to look at various options, it needs to be do-able.
“You have to identify what nourishes you, what makes you feel good, what brings you joy.
“People tend to look for continuous happiness, but life has its ups and downs. If you experience just a moment of joy, no matter how simple, you have achieved something.”
‘Have It All Without Burning Out’ is available from amazon.co.uk and is published by Authors & Co.