Over-Achiever to Over -It 

My journey from top of the class, to bottom of the corporate ladder

Before I share my story, I want to thank you lovely reader, for clicking through. I hope some of what I share resonates with you in some way.

* * *

I was the girl in school that studied like crazy, and had the results to prove it. I’m not sure where my desire to ‘be first’ stems from, but I can trace it all the way back to primary school, when I received 100% in one of those state-wide English competitions, and was sent off to a presentation ceremony run by the University of NSW. I still have the medallion I was awarded that day. I was 9.

And so started my quest for achieving as much as I possibly could. I chaired our school SRC at 12, studied my brains out throughout high school and was awarded top in English, Drama, Society and Culture, Legal, Religion and Advanced English in year 12, as well as best senior debator, orator and performing arts. My UAI after exams was 93.

Throughout schooling, I showed a tendency towards anxiety. I would have regular break downs, or ‘stress attacks’ as my friends called them, mainly resulting from pressure I put on myself to be ‘the best’ at everything I tried to do – sport, drama, school, relationships, volunteering…the list goes on (I was lucky to have a family and parents who would have supported me no matter my grades, yet still I felt immense pressure to be first…from myself and myself alone!)

I was also one of those people that knew exactly what I was going to do when I left school – I would enrol in Uni and study journalism, and become a writer for one of my favourite magazines.

During my years at Uni I was managing a highly coveted internship at CLEO magazine while finishing my degree.

Then, life happened.

I finished my degree, applied for a number of magazine roles, and…nothing. Silence.

Sick of working in retail (which I had also juggled while studying), I put my feelers out for any ‘foot in the door’ ‘real world’ experience. I was lucky enough to get a role in a small marketing consultancy that was just starting out. In true ‘high achiever’ fashion, I quickly went from a temp admin girl, to personal assistant to the director, and eventually account manager.

I worked in the business for 5 years, met amazing people, loved my team, and learnt truckloads about business, marketing, strategy…and the list goes on!

It was 4 years into my role that I started getting sick. A lot. It felt like every second week I was taking time off because of a flu I just couldn’t shake, or feeling so exhausted I couldn’t get off the couch. At this stage, I was commuting 2 hours to and from work every day, was training at the gym at 5am 6 days a week, volunteering for my favourite charity, managing a very busy social life and basically having no time to myself.

I would wake up after 9 hours of sleep feeling exhausted, would burst into tears for absolutely no reason anywhere at all, and started feeling lightheaded, drained and not myself.

My body had given up on me. My quest to be the best, to constantly achieve and push myself, had left my mind, body and soul so unaligned that everything began to break down.

I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, parasites, an unknown bacterial infection, psoriasis,  anxiety and depression.


And so began my journey to wellness (one which I am still managing every single day).

I left my role of 5 years, stopped volunteering, quit the gym and moved home with my partner. My weekends are now kept as free as possible for resting and restorative yoga, my social circle has condensed dramatically, and I have since realised that life is not at all about being ‘the best’ at everything. It is about DOING your best, each day, and most importantly, doing what is best for you, your health and your wellbeing.

Today my life is nothing like it was even 6 months ago. I sleep until 7:30am. I no longer catch the bus into the city every day. I have traded corporate clothes for hippy pants, and rushed lunch breaks to sitting in the sun with smoothies and homemade salads.

And, slowly but surely, my body and mind are healing.

It is my mission in life to inspire as many people as I can to live a life that is truly right for them. One that lights you up, inspires you every day, and mostly, ensures you are the healthiest version of yourself – in mind, body and soul.

If I can help just one person realise that they are so worthy and capable of living their dream life – then I have done my job.

And of course, if I can have a little fun along the way, then even better! 😉

Here’s to your healthiest, happiest and best life ever!

Hollie xxxx