It’s time for me to share THE biggest personal & professional challenge of my life thus far…
I’ve kept this one fairly close to the chest because I knew I had a lot to learn on this topic before I began to share with others.
I’ve been deep in my own healing and growth for many years now – and the time has come.
So here it goes:
My biggest “Achilles heel” over the last 15+ years of my life has been overwork and burnout.
(Or what I like to call too much “go mode.”)
My sister Mariah Sage actually came up with this term during a brainstorming session with her and my mom / mentor Gigi Sage.
We were talking about the terms “feminine” and “masculine” and I mentioned how I felt so frustrated by those words because I tend to have a lot of what some might call masculine energy.
✅ I’m super focused and can be one-track-minded.
✅ I’ve spent most of my life in DOING energy.
✅ I tend to be quite logical and linear.
✅ I’m driven and goal-oriented.
And so on…
But I didn’t relate to the word masculine. In fact, it made me feel bad about myself – like there was something wrong with me for not being more feminine.
That’s when the terms “go mode” and “flow mode” were born.
Because the truth is, although men tend to have higher amounts of go mode energy and women tend to have higher amounts of flow mode energy – this is not necessarily gender-specific.
We ALL have both energies inside of us, in varying amounts. My theory is that each of us has a percentage of each energy that is most aligned and natural for us.
But through our life experiences, conditioning and choices, we can end up cultivating more of one or the other energy. This can be a very positive thing – but it can also become an imbalance that has very challenging consequences.
Case in point: “Go mode” Makena.
I was not born this way. Yes, I was born with some of this energy. But the hyper-cultivation of this side of myself happened over the course of my teens and into my twenties.
My overachiever tendencies led me to work super hard in high school… get straight A’s in college while participating in a million extra-curricular activities AND working multiple part-time jobs… and then hit the ground running in my career, building a 6-figure business within two years after graduation.
And it didn’t stop there… If anything, my “go mode” picked up speed.
Most of you know that part of my story. Overwork. Exhaustion. Anxiety. Burnout. And as I always say, “Burnout isn’t just physical exhaustion. It’s exhaustion of the soul.”
So yes, when I finally got the courage to follow the call of my soul to something MORE – a lot changed. I felt that spark of aliveness again. I had more energy and a lot less anxiety.
And yet… the overworking tendencies still followed me. The “go-go-go” and then crash cycles still happened – albeit less frequently and intensely than before.
Which was confusing and frustrating because the rest of my life was getting SO freaking good. I was FINALLY doing work I truly loved. I was happier and more fulfilled.
But I couldn’t seem to shake this pattern…
I would often work 10-12 hour days in the pursuit of my passion, and the fulfillment of my mission. I worked 6 days a week for a very long time.
And I had every justification in the world.
At first, it was because I was juggling two businesses at once. Then when I fully made the leap into coaching, I justified the long hours because I was building a startup from the ground up. Then, I reasoned that I was in “building time” – laying the foundation to grow and scale.
All of this was true.
But what I couldn’t see was that I was actually addicted to work. I was addicted to “go mode” energy.
I know some of you know what I’m talking about… The dopamine hit you get when you cross a task off your list. The pride of seeing something you created out in the world. The feeling of being so immersed in a project that you lose all sense of time.
It feels GOOD. Until it doesn’t.
It all came to a head in the summer of 2021. I was wrapping up a major launch in my business, and I was a mess. Emotionally up and down. Tired. Crying a lot.
So many things were working in my life and business – but I couldn’t even feel it.
I knew something was off.
I decided to do some health testing to find out what was going on with my nutrient levels, hormones, and more. And what I found backed up the way I was feeling. I WAS a mess!
Adrenal fatigue. Low progesterone. High testosterone. Super low on minerals and all the major nutrients in the body. Gut issues. And so on…
Despite having done a million cleanses over the years, worked with many health practitioners, and living a fairly healthy lifestyle, my health (and especially my hormones) were NOT in a good place.
The #1 cause? Chronic stress.
This was one of many “wake up calls” that took place over about a year period that had me begin to take a much deeper look at my relationship to work and my tendency to get stuck in “go mode” for long periods of time.
In addition to my health, it was also beginning to impact my marriage. And even though I LOVE what I do, I found my desire & drive would ebb and flow according to how hard I had been pushing lately vs. how much I allowed myself to recharge my batteries and get into “flow mode.”
There’s so much more to this story – and so many lessons I’ve learned – but I know this post is already getting very long, so I will save it for another day. 🙂
Suffice it to say that I’ve made some BIG changes in the way I approach my life and work.
I still love go mode, and I know that it is an energy that is very needed in growing a business. However, I’ve learned to tap much more into flow mode – and setup systems to hold me accountable to prioritizing this on a regular basis.
I’ve gotten my health & hormones hugely back on track (my health tests are 85% better and I am feeling like a completely different person!). I am calmer and have far more emotional stability and bandwidth.
I am going through a brain re-training program to literally re-wire my limbic system to get out of the fight-flight-freeze loop and into a state of natural calm.
I am living a more balanced life… and still running a successful business!
A few years ago, I got the message from God / the Universe / my higher self that this topic is going to be a big part of my life’s work.
But at that point, I wasn’t ready to share about it yet. I was in the thick of it myself.
And let’s be real: I’m still a work in progress! I don’t have this 100% figured out.
But I’ve come so far – and I’ve had the great privilege of supporting numerous clients to do the same. To go from tired, burned out and having anxiety and/or panic attacks, to feeling happy, fulfilled, energized and aligned.
… all while growing their income, impact and richer, more fulfilling lives in EVERY area.
It’s not about giving up go mode. It’s about learning to dance between the “go” and the “flow.” It’s finding your own unique sweet spot – the blend that feels right for you.