YOU’RE A SUCCESSFUL, CAREER-DRIVEN WOMAN WHO SPENT THE PAST DECADE EARNING DEGREES AND BUILDING A CAREER THAT NOW FEELS BLAH.
Each day feels like a blur as you rush from meeting to meeting. You’re stressed out from working long days, and barely have a moment to hear yourself think.
Over the years you ticked the boxes, played the game, and followed society’s success script. But now you feel burned out and trapped in a career you once loved so much.
You wonder: is there more to life than working hard, paying bills, and buying stuff?
I know because I’ve been there too.
HI. I'M TOSH PATTERSON.
I’m a coach who works with ambitious women who, despite their impressive career success, are feeling burned out and uninspired.
Whether they want to find time on the calendar to hear herself think, establish clear work boundaries, or consistently prioritize wellness, I teach them self-care tools so they can live a life they love, on their terms.
MY JOURNEY HERE
I grew up hearing, “work hard, study hard, and get a good job.”
So, it’s no surprise that I successfully followed SOCIETY'S SUCCESS SCRIPT: go to college, earn a Master's degree, secure a good job, climb the corporate ladder, get married, and buy a house.
There I stood in this thing called life, with my superwoman cape blowing in the wind, feeling accomplished to have checked off several boxes of SOCIETY’S SCRIPT.
But have you ever had the experience where life looked good on paper, yet something just didn’t feel right?
That’s how I felt and began to wonder what else life had for me. My spirit kept telling me to travel, but I didn’t have any clarity beyond that, so I waited for more clues.
A few months later, I attended a professional conference and learned about Semester at Sea, a program where people traveled around the world together. I submitted my application, was rejected, applied again, and was accepted one year later. Luckily, at the time, my boss allowed me to take an unpaid leave of absence and agreed to hold my mid-level position.
Working for Semester at Sea was an awesome, life-changing experience for me. I sailed around the world, lived on a ship, and explored 12 countries in four months.
It was an adventure of new tastes, sounds, and sights. I felt the ground beneath my feet in the Bahamas, Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Costa Rica, Panama, and Honolulu.
Every day I watched the sunset. Such an epic experience that showed me the importance of unapologetically carving out time for myself.
Once back on land, I settled into the daily grind.
Shortly thereafter I earned a huge promotion at work and transitioned from mid-manager to the senior management team within a large organization. My workdays were fast-paced and filled with a never-ending to-do list.
Each moment of the day was packed—starting before work by reading emails over breakfast, followed by going from appointment to appointment with barely a moment to escape for lunch.
Despite competing priorities at home and work, I continued to make travel a priority. I was happy to check off several bucket list destinations: Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Jamaica, France, and Bali.
Within a couple of years, travel became my form of responsible, intentional self-care. Being physically removed from life’s demands freed up some mental space that would have otherwise been reserved for stress and worry. Travel allowed time for me to decompress and resulted in me returning to work more present, more alive, and calmer.
As a senior leader, I easily worked 50+ hours -- not including being on call 1-2 weeks every month. Overachieving, overworking, and pushing forward became a familiar way of life. I put work above everything else.
Plus the overall pace of life seemed to be getting faster and more frenetic, thanks largely to advances in technology, which meant more email, texts, social media pings, and on and on. My work life and personal life were often rushed and mashed together in a blur of activity.
The high-speed pace, hustle, and constant grind started to pull me down. My self-care diminished because I rarely took any days off and even began banking ‘use or lose’ vacation time. There was absolutely no ME time in my life anymore. I found myself at the bottom of the list.
I started feeling anxious and stressed out.
Such a demanding lifestyle coupled with stress and overwhelm resulted in me feeling shell-shocked, disconnected, and disinterested in my career and wondering, again, if this career—this life—was it.
When I graduated with a Master’s degree, I was ready to take over the world, but after 10+ years of doing what I had studied and was trained to do, I hit a slump. I didn’t love it anymore. All the magic was gone. My career felt like a steamy summer romance that went from hot and heavy to fizzled in what seemed like an instant.
My career, my life felt...shallow and flat.
So, day in and day out, I pushed myself to keep up with emails, daily tasks, attending meetings, and supervising staff but neglected to prioritize myself as I had in earlier years. Then, eventually, it caught up with me.
For nearly two years I would drive into work and sit in the parking lot, bawling my eyes out. I’d have a good cry, dry my tears, and walk to my office.
It was a difficult time when I felt stuck and unsure of how to get out of the corporate matrix. My new boss micromanaged, and as a Black woman, I did not feel valued, seen, or heard.
I was so sick of working at such a demanding pace, but I couldn’t leave yet because I needed the money. Plus, from the outside, it seemed like I “had it made”, so people, including my husband, didn’t truly understand the magnitude of my burnout.
All the stress from career demands compounded in my body and resulted not only in massive weight gain (hello, stress eating) but also unhappiness. Having such a push-push-push mentality drove my spirit into the ground. I was grumpy most days, and during those years, I hated my life because I was jumping through hoops and going through the motions to get my biweekly paycheck. But in my heart of hearts, I knew it was time to leave.
I slid into a major depression that ultimately resulted in me hitting rock bottom physically (gained 90lbs), mentally (gave up hope for leaving my job), and emotionally (withdrew from life).
As a senior leader, I felt the need to show-up “professionally” and not reveal my truth, in fear of being deemed incompetent.
That level of secrecy and unhappiness brought on serious anxiety and I began experiencing health issues (eye twitching and locked jaw) triggered by stress. Doctors instructed me to remove as much stress as possible ASAP!
I had some sobering moments dealing with the reality of managing multiple health issues. These hardships pushed me into a deep dive with my soul.
With my back against the wall, I had no choice but to make myself a priority and create time and space for the things that made me happy and nourished my soul. I was forced to figure out how to shift from stressed to calm, both personally and professionally.
ALLOWING MYSELF TO WORK LESS
In order to restore balance in all areas of life, I drew a line in the sand and decided to work less. No more late nights, early mornings, extra committees, or weekend work.
From there I established boundaries and stopped being a people pleaser. Initially, it was hard and uncomfortable but became easier as I valued my sanity more and more.
During my deepest, darkest valley, I found teachings from Louise Hay, Michael Bernard Beckwith, and Wayne Dyer helped shift my mindset.
For more than a year, I took it one day at a time and immersed myself in daily wellness practices like meditation, yoga nidra, sound healing, and essential oils.
I even rearranged my office so I could use these tools during the workday. These self-care routines pulled me out of that bleak place.
Simple, joyful pleasures on my healing path included:
buying fresh flowers weekly for home & work
purging my work office & redecorating it
decluttering my home
traveling to retreats
creating vision boards
detoxing from social media
soothing Epsom salt baths
And, not to sound cliché, I began
healing my mind, body, and spirit.
I started uncovering MY deepest desires for my life, my passions, and my purpose. I finally tapped into my own feminine intuition, reconnected to my authentic self, and started aligning my actions with my heart's calling.
Most importantly I reclaimed what mattered most -- beyond work. I redefined success.
I could see that for more than a decade, I had worked to check off every item on SOCIETY'S SUCCESS LIST, but now my inner GPS system leads. All of these pressure points unlocked a new life—one now aligned with my top values and priorities.
With newfound confidence and clarity, I decided to finally leave my soul-sucking job.
I took a $20k pay cut with the transition out, but it was a small price to pay for my well being. Thankfully my husband stood by my side and supported me throughout the healing process.
PRIORITY #1: ME
I returned to traveling which showed me the power of reconnecting with myself and keeping myself at the top of the list despite life's demands. Travel allowed time and space for rejuvenation, adventure, and exploration.
After my own healing and transformation, I felt called to author Work Less, Travel More: 50 Savvy Tips to Help Busy Professional Women Experience More Freedom & Happiness, which serves as a how-to guide on living your best life NOW despite all that pulls at you.
Then I started hosting vision board workshops in hopes of inspiring
ambitious women to consider redefining success and reclaiming
what mattered most in life.
From there I invited career-driven women to travel with me in
order to decompress from life’s demands. Having time away
opened up mental space, so once back home, women were ready
to take massive action in order to shift out of constant struggle
and stress, and into more ease and flow at work and in life.
WHERE I AM TODAY
Today I’m proud to help career-driven women, who feel burned out, consistently prioritize self-care. I help them unapologetically claim more ME time and let go of overachieving, overworking, and pushing forward as a way of life.
I LOVE coaching, as well as leading retreats.
I am fiercely committed to helping women learn how to simplify and enjoy life's pleasures without feeling guilty.
With my practical tips, step-by-step action plans, and guidance, I enjoy helping people like you create a life you love - on your terms.
My expertise has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, U.S. News & World Report, and various media outlets. I use my Master’s degree, as well as yoga and sound healing certifications to facilitate transformative retreats, workshops, and private coaching.
Too many women feel overwhelmed and overworked—you don't have to be one of them.
If you're ready to break-up with stress and learn how to prioritize yourself, let's connect.