The Wonder Woman Syndrome — the pathway to burnout

This is what the Wonder Woman Syndrome looks like on the outside. It’s the disease which has women trying to do it all and do it all alone.

Women measure their self-worth in productivity and accomplishments

The Consequences

  • Sleep deprivation;
  • Stress;
  • Increased risk of heart disease;
  • Poor communication with your spouse/partner;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Anxiety;
  • Depression;
  • Low self-worth and self-esteem;
  • Guilt and shame;
  • Burnout.
  • She ignores every sign of her body telling her something’s wrong — the I’m fine, honey! to her kid and her husband; if that would have happened to one of her kids or her husband she would have rushed them to the hospital in a heart beat (pun intended!);
  • She puts everyone else’s needs before hers — she attends to her kids’ needs AND her husband’s — who doesn’t participate in the morning routine of his family (feeding the children, preparing them for school etc), while she only takes a sip of coffee;
  • “Do I look like the type of person who has a heart-attack?” If your body could talk (as a matter of fact it does), it would say Yes, you do! Because you’re body is not made of rock, it has needs and limitations no matter your age and continuing to deny and ignore them will only bring you serious health issues;
  • She apologies to the 911 for bothering them — even after she realised she was in the middle of having a heart attack, she still didn’t consider herself and her situation important enough to ask for professional help;
  • She asks the emergency team to arrive late so that she could have 8 more minutes to tidy up the house — I’ll let you comment on this one.

Do you want to get rid of your Wonder Woman Syndrome?

Here are 10 steps you can take to improve your life:

  1. First acknowledge you are not chocolate, you can’t make everyone happy;
  2. Stop comparing yourself or your life with others;
  3. Reconnect with your body and listen to it, don’t ignore its signs;
  4. Ask for help when you need it;
  5. Decide to be OK with good enough — do the best you can at that moment;
  6. Build a network of trusted people (family, friends etc) you can rely on;
  7. Stop looking for self-validation outside;
  8. Stop giving in to other people’s expectations;
  9. Discover your self-worth;
  10. Raise your self-esteem.


It’s not selfish to put yourself first — it’s self-full. You need to keep your cup full. What comes out of the cup is for the others, what’s in the cup is yours. But you have to keep your cup full. When you give to others to the degree that you sacrifice yourself, you make the other person a thief. Take care of yourself first so you can take care of others.

Iyanla Vanzant talking to Oprah




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BRAND MINDS 2023: James Clear, Renée Mauborgne, Duncan Wardle, Lynda Gratton with more global thinkers to be announced soon. Tickets

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