If professional success comes at the expense of personal health, says Anna Pinkerton, author of 'Smile Again' is that actually success?

I work with business leaders and I used to see people only once they had broken down completely. This often meant loss of millions, or hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost financial opportunities. However, the single most significant agony for these people is always the loss of their physical and mental health.

What is the point of success if you are not well enough to take pleasure in it?

If your work life is making you sick, you're working the wrong model and you won't be able to sustain it and stay well. If you breakdown, it will take you on average 2 years to recover to get fully back into your life.

Five years ago (having broken down myself) I made a significant and life enhancing decision. I chose to approach my working life with resilience, flexibility, creating as much ease and good health as I could envision. It was important for me to be able to conceptualise a way of working that I was utterly passionate about and be able to stay fully well and appreciative of my success. I needed to walk my talk and so, I did.

If I was to help others who had burned out and broken down I needed to ensure that I had all the measures of prevention in place within my life. This is now my mission; working with the high achievers to prevent burn out, breakdown, and enjoy current and future success. I committed to steadying my own path by navigating good mental and physical health whilst rising to the demands of a growing six figure business.

How to have professional success and love it?

What you do is build a resilience within yourself and create a skills-kit with adjustment, being able to flex and be flexible in order to steady your path. Be able to adjust your attention, your mood, your thinking, your actions, your resting and your self-care commitment consistently.

Keys to Healthy Success

1) Be cognisant of the continually shifting demands of your:

  • Physical health
  • Emotional health
  • Psychological health
  • Nutritional health
  • Relationship health
  • Parenting health
  • Friendship health
  • Financial health
  • Happiness health.

2) Be cognisant and attentive of where you gain your nourishment from

  • People
  • Nature
  • Art
  • Hobbies
  • Music
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • Crowds
  • Solitude
  • Quiet
  • Exercise

3) Be certain and committed to your daily self-care rituals:

  • Take short breaks every day
  • Eat lunch every day
  • Stop and think what do I want to do in the next hour
  • Be kind in your thoughts and actions to self & others
  • Breathe and move through stress
  • Find a way to play in my day
  • Carry on with due regard for yourself, don't carry on regardless
  • Be real and notice how you feel and adjust
  • Know tough times shouldn't break you

Take the opportunity to be a responsible professional. Allow yourself to navigate and steady your path through the rigours of professional life. Don't let your professional success actually turn into your greatest failure because you haven’t looked after yourself along the way.

Our single most important journey in life is to learn to look after ourselves. The single most poisonous thing you can do to yourself and others is to not look after yourself.


  • You take it out on others
  • You are reckless with your health, therefore can't do your bit
  • You seek attention through your lack of self-care
  • You toxify your career and that of others by demonstrating an unsustainable way of 'succeeding'
  • You give your emotional work to others to do, simply by not doing it yourself

Look out for other inspirational professionals who are passionate, successful and who look after themselves and make the world a better place, without breaking down


Anna Pinkerton, is the author of Smile Again: Your Recovery from Burnout, Breakdown and Overwhelming Stress, available from Amazon, priced £9.99.

Anna Pinkerton is a therapeutic coach, corporate therapist and a leading expert in post-traumatic stress disorder. For more information, visit