A burn-out saps your energy. Did this energy loss make you feel more sensitive and/or anxious?

Katrin: “I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I was frightened not being able to function normal again. My head ‘didn’t work’ anymore, I was exhausted...”

The impact of fatigue should not be underestimated. Still, many fail to understand this. Would you like to elaborate on that?

Katrin: “Yes, you can only imagine the impact of severe fatigue if you’ve been through it yourself. I used to be an energetic person, I walked to Santiago de Compostela, I was sport-addicted and then, suddenly, during pilates I was so exhausted that even lifting my leg became an enormous task. My body felt heavy. I slept a lot during that period and took half an hour a day to exercise/walk.”

Every challenge is an opportunity

At work-life balance event
Left: Falke Bogaerts (Orchard's Bird) Right: Katrin Van de Water (Passion For Work)
Did you consider your burn-out as an opportunity?

Katrin: “A burn-out alienates you from your old self. I was curious what could rise from the ashes. It’s been a real quest finding myself again and building up my energy. I decided it was time to pursue my dreams. The employee status didn’t suit me, I discovered I was highly intelligent and hypersensitive, I decided to take the plunge: I became self-employed! I started out as a freelancer, but eventually I started my own brand.. Pursuing my dreams felt liberating. So yes, it definitely was an opportunity.”

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Wonderful. I love to hear more about how you retrieved your passion and how pursuing your dream helped you recover from the burn-out.

Katrin: “I took career guidance and did my research on various professions: starting a B&B, becoming a shepherd, and so on. I explored many professions. How? By actually doing the real life thing for half a day. That way I could estimate whether my expectations corresponded with reality and whether I enjoyed it. Eventually I discovered I wanted to be a career guide.

The idea of wanting to help others in a situation similar to mine grew with time.

I wanted to support persons that are stuck on professional level, persons who have lost their energy, who have ran into a wall, My HR-background and understanding of the subject, combined with my ‘career passport’ (the Emc2-method that I developed) that allows you to recover and optimally work with your energy, I figured I could really help out others.”

During your burn-out or when times got tough, did you start planning events or did you write down what you could look forward to?

Katrin: “I could not look ahead that far and plan events back then. I did, however, go out for a walk every day and scheduled some relaxing weekends with my boyfriend.”

Bouncing back after a burn-out

Did you pick up some old hobbies? Did you focus on your interests, talents or passion? What activities did you do during your burn-out?

Katrin: “I did some yoga, meditation, walking, swimming, followed an education intuitive development and slept a lot. That training intuitive development was something I’ve been interested in for a very long time. I also prepared cooked meals every day, which I never did before. Besides that I also took some time to mourn since my mother had recently died by suicide.”

How did you regain your energy?

Katrin: “I slept a lot, tried to focus on fun things and went to a therapist, and followed a lot of courses on self development, etc. I also changed my diet and ate healthier; no more coffee, alcohol, sugar and yeast.”

Did trips or nature walks have a huge impact?

Katrin: “Yes, nature and walking has helped me a lot.”

Did your lifestyle change after you burn out?

Katrin: “I learned to say no and focus on things that I like doing and do not drain my energy. I decided to pursue my dreams and create the greatest life ever... Now, for the most part I live in the countryside in southern Spain. I work together with a team of 10 people and have a lot of free time ...”

Work-life balance

What’s your definition of a good work-life balance?

Katrin: “A good work-life balance differs for everyone, it simply has to feel right for you. It doesn’t matter how many hours you work, to me most important is that that your energy is kept in balance and that you’re still able to have some me-time.

What is your vision? What the goal of Passion for Work?

Katrin: “We want to help highly educated persons in their thirties/forties who are struggling with making career decisions. Those who want to do something different, but don’t know what exactly. Or those who do know, but don’t know where to start or how to achieve this. From employees and freelancers to entrepreneurs. This is where the personal branding philosophy comes in.”

You can read more about Personal Branding in Katrin’s free e-Book.

“It is our mission to inspire thousands of people to realize their dream job or dream business. We believe people who can pursue their passion are happier. We focus on the Flemish market, since Flanders offers a subsidy that allows people to get 8 coaching sessions for €80.”

Picking a job that suits you. How do you do that? What should people be taking into account when looking for a job?

Katrin: “At Passion For Work we believe people should look for a job that suits their character, skills and values. The career passport Emc² can help. The ‘E’ stands for energy, the ‘m’ for the motivation and the ‘c’ for competence. If you find a job that matches your values, if you can do what you love and what you are good at, if you can build up your talents on a daily basis, you’re passionate about your job. In addition, we also ask people to fill out a test to see which occupations might fit their character.”

Thank you, Katrin, for the interview!

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