Getting Burned Out Trying to Help Busy Moms Find Balance: Kezia Luckett

Getting Burned Out Trying to Help Busy Moms Find Balance: Kezia Luckett


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My guest for Episode #101 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Kezia Luckett, a highly respected Positive Psychologist, three times international best-selling author of “The Pay it Forward Series: Notes to My Younger Self” and the creator behind two revolutionary modalities, The Energy Code® and Mind Conditioning Therapy®.

In today's episode, Kezia shares her favorite mistake, from her time as the founder of a concierge service for busy moms… and how that, ironically, led to burnout — and how she's learned to prevent repeating that mistake.

Other topics and questions:

  • Understanding that when things are going wrong… but we keep plodding through
  • Walking away from a business – learned there is a new way
  • Your current business – how to not repeat mistakes?
  • Designed her business around my life – didn’t design work around her life the first time…
  • Is our work or life on autopilot??
  • What is positive psychology?
  • Decoding & Releasing Your Past?

Scroll down to find:

  • Watch the video
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Watch a Preview:


"We have a choice how we look at [mistakes]. We can either choose to believe that they're a mistake and shouldn't happen, or we can choose to believe that they're course-correcting us to where we're meant to go."
"What I learned from that after burnout and losing — well not losing, walking away from a business — was that actually there is another way to do things."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (1s):

Episode 101, Kezia Luckett, positive psychologist.

Kezia Luckett (6s):

You can either choose to believe that they're a mistake and shouldn't happen, or we can choose to believe that they're course correcting us to where we're meant to go.

Mark Graban (18s):

I'm Mark Graban. This is My Favorite Mistake. INthis podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes, because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at For show notes, links, and more. Go to As always, thanks for listening. Our guest today is Kezia Luckett.

Mark Graban (58s):

She is a highly respected positive psychologist. She's three time international best-selling author of the Pay it Forward series — notes to my younger self, and she's a creator behind two revolutionary modalities, the energy code and mind conditioning therapy. So I think we'll have a chance to learn a little bit more about that today, but first off Kezia thank you for being here. How are you?

Kezia Luckett (1m 22s):

Thank you so much for having me on, really well.

Mark Graban (1m 24s):

Well, great. I guess, you know, forgive me for jumping right in. I guess that's what we do here on the podcast. It's not a mistake. I don't know why I'm apologizing, but because what would you say is your favorite mistake?

Kezia Luckett (1m 38s):

Do you know what? This is? One of the reasons that I wanted to come on here because I just love this idea of our favorite mistake. For me, it's something that kind of revolutionized my life and became that pivotal moment, which I think is probably the same for most of the people that I've listened to on your show. My favorite mistake is, is, is this understanding that when things are going wrong, when you know, they sh one T is hitting the fan and things are not great that we just keep on plodding through. We had to fact, we are, you know, our strive and our determination to keep on going through.

Kezia Luckett (2m 20s):

And what I learned from that after burnout and losing well, not losing, walking away from a business was that actually there is another way to do things. And when it took that, that pivotal moment in my life of walking away from a highly successful business, because I was literally on the verge of burning out for me to realize that. And so that has revolutionized my whole life, that, that favorite mistake.

Mark Graban (2m 51s):

Yeah. So I think it'd be interesting to hear a little more detail about that. What was that business, if you don't mind talking about that?

Kezia Luckett (2m 58s):

The irony, it was a female based concierge business, helping busy corporate moms juggle the work-life balance. So whatever they needed to make their life easier so that when they came back from a busy day at work, they could be present with their loved ones. They could relax, they could have time for themselves. So I had a team of 35 women that would go in and they would do everything from washing and ironing, cleaning laundry, making beds, unloading dishwashers, making the evening meal, looking after kids, you know, to going up and doing some, you know, really nice shopping for them. So they had gifts to give to their clients. So they did whatever they would need to do normally if they were doing it themselves.

Kezia Luckett (3m 42s):

And so it was really interesting being a part of that and seeing into the most intimate part of people's lives is being in their home and seeing that even with all of those things and all of that support, there was still this underlying of, you know, this underlying feeling of I've worked so hard to get where I am, but what does it all mean? You know, what's it all for? I've got all of these things. I've got the nice house, I've got the nice clothes. I've got the nice car. I've got the holidays, I've got all these things. I've now got somebody to help me with the household stuff so I can spend more time with my family.

Kezia Luckett (4m 24s):

But now what

Mark Graban (4m 25s):

I mean, it sounds like, I don't know if irony is the right word and I don't know if you're a mother, but you started this business to provide services to busy women did in a way that create overburden and additional stress for you.

Kezia Luckett (4m 42s):

Oh my gosh. Yes. I mean, I was a bit of a control freak. I had two managers that ran different areas and it wasn't unusual for me to do an 80, 90 hour work week to work Monday through Saturday. And if my husband hadn't put his foot down probably a Sunday too, because I was invested, it's kind of like having another child. I was invested heavily invested in bringing this, the seedling of an idea and this baby out into the world. But in the meantime of doing this and helping all these women, I lost the true essence of who I was and why I was doing that.

Mark Graban (5m 21s):

Wow. So when did this start to become apparent to you? And I'm curious, as you said earlier, the idea of plotting through, like, when did you start to realize something's not right here, but yet, and this, I mean, I, I understand this. Like you want to stick with something you don't want to give up, you want to figure it out. What can you tell a little bit more of the dynamics there?

Kezia Luckett (5m 44s):

Well, one of the things that was apparent when I was at school, when I was getting those school reports in every single one of them said exactly the same thing, which is, you know, cause he is doing well, but she could do better. And so I've kind of took that on as my mantra. Well, I'm doing all right, but I could do better. And like many people I have learnt that, you know, through society, through parents, through peers that, that, that, that whole sub-section of could do better is all about working harder and longer. It's all about pushing it through. And so that's what I did, could do better. Okay. So we've got 35 members of staff and we're in five counties.

Kezia Luckett (6m 25s):

How can we spread that out? I could do better. And so my could do better. Ended up being, working longer, working harder, not necessarily working smart. And the, the kind of side effect was that I wasn't seeing my family. When I was with my family. I was not a particularly nice person to be around. I essentially became one of the women that I was looking to serve, not necessarily in the personality, but in the fact that I was doing all of this for everybody else, but actually I needed two or three of those people doing it for me.

Mark Graban (7m 1s):

And, and when you decided to walk away what finally tipped it in that direction, where if that was, it sounded like you were struggling with that.

Kezia Luckett (7m 12s):

I was, and I will honestly say that I didn't know I was struggling with it. And there were a couple of things that happened quite quickly, one after the other. And the first one was when my husband came home from work to find me on the floor, struggling to breathe because I had pneumonia and rushed into hospital, spent six weeks in bed thought I felt better, went back to not learning my lesson. And within a couple of days I had food poisoning and was back in bed for another two weeks. And at that point it was just like, right. Things aren't going as they should be. And it's difficult to run a business from your bed because I was exhausted.

Kezia Luckett (7m 54s):

And interestingly enough, I had a coach. I had a mentor at the time and I traveled up to be with her and some of the women that were in the group. And I still vividly remember sitting at the boardroom table and she came round behind me and she put her hands on my shoulders and I remember looking up and she just said, I don't believe your business is making you happy. And out of my mouth before I could even engage, my brain came all of these things as well. It's my baby. And I love it. I've done it for five years and don't be so ridiculous and blah, blah, blah, blah. And I remember on the way home, this kind of rolling over my head and I walked in and my husband and my two children were sat at the dinner table and I sat down and he said, how was your day?

Kezia Luckett (8m 41s):

And I repeated back that word and what I'd said. And out of nowhere, my little boy who was five at the time who I'd set the business up because of my experience, when I was pregnant with him, he just looked at me and he said, well, she's right, mommy, you're always so grumpy. And it was in that moment. I was like, no, I'm done. I'm out of here, I'm walking away. And then the unraveling happened afterwards.

Mark Graban (9m 6s):

So would you say, and thank you for sharing all that cause he, you know, so moving ahead, thinking of, is it fair to say, I mean, your, your current business is the work that you do as a psychologist and an author. And you've got things that you're creating in this current business are, you know, thinking back to the lesson from the concierge business, are there things that you look out for to, to head off repeating serve a similar mistake? If there's some part of the work that you do, that's not making you happy or it's, if it's a struggle, how do you think about it now? Do you continue plotting along or do you pull back or stop doing something?

Kezia Luckett (9m 50s):

Well, there's a couple of things. Firstly, I actively chose to do things different. So where before I'd set up a business and my life had to squeeze round that business and find its, you know, find the small elements where it could fit in my business. Now I've designed my business around my life. I've designed it around. How do I want to live? What kind of life do I want to have? And it's not working a 90, 80, 80, 90 hour work. It's not.

Mark Graban (10m 23s):

So being very intentional about some of that

Kezia Luckett (10m 26s):

Incredibly intentional. And also, you know, obviously you talked about the energy code, the energy code is all about understanding those natural peaks and troughs we have. And I now know that there's certain times in the month, in the year where I'm full of energy and I can go, go, go. And there's other times that I need to pull back. And so now I can track my energy. I know exactly when those times are, I can plan my diary around it. And it just means that what I'm doing supports that and it supports my business.

Mark Graban (11m 1s):

I think it's interesting. I've had another guest who use a similar phrase of designing your life. And when I think about my background as an engineer and I've worked in healthcare for 15 years, there's this question around designing the work that nurses and pharmacists and physicians and others do on a day to day basis. It's often, frankly, it's not designed. It's just evolved. It's just happened. And that leads to overburden and stress and disconnects and burnout. And I, I think it's just interesting to see the parallels and, and to, to step back, I'll do this on my own time, but the step back and think about how this applies to me and my business and my life.

Mark Graban (11m 45s):

Am I designing it or am I just letting it happen? I think that's a really important thing to think about.

Kezia Luckett (11m 50s):

And I think so many of us aren't, we we've fallen into a trap where we're on autopilot, where, you know, each and every day is Groundhog day. And actually by the time with 35, you know, 95% of our subconscious programming is already in there. So that gives us 5% of our brain in order to switch and change things about, well, unless you're conscious and unless you're intentional, then you are naturally going to go into that autopilot. And you know, I'm, I'm 48. Now if I think back to when I was 35 and before that I'm not the same person. So I don't want to live the same life that I did then, you know, I'm getting older, I want it more easy and relaxed.

Kezia Luckett (12m 36s):

I don't want to be running around like this, you know?

Mark Graban (12m 40s):

So I want to learn more about the idea is you sort of introduced the energy code. I think that's really interesting before we get into that, you know, you described yourself as a positive psychologist and I've heard that phrase. I don't know what it means. So I'll just ask on behalf of the audience, what, what does it mean? Positive psychology?

Kezia Luckett (12m 60s):

So a positive psychologist in positive psychology is all about the science of what makes people, communities and organizations flourishing thrive. So these easiest way I describe it to my clients is I'm interested in the good stuff about you, you know? Yes. You know, we all have that dichotomy of, of the good and the bad, the, you know, and, and also sometimes the downright ugly, but you know, what, what is the good stuff let's build on your strengths? Let's build on, on, on the good stuff that will help you flourish and thrive rather than point the finger at the so-called bad stuff. And, and bring that to the surface.

Kezia Luckett (13m 40s):

Obviously we don't want to discard it, but there has to be that beautiful balance. And I think for so long, psychology has just focused on one aspect. So bringing this forward, I think has changed a lot of things for a lot of people being able to focus on the positive psychology aspect.

Mark Graban (13m 60s):

Yeah. So I, if I hear you, right, the traditional approaches, so psychology is not called negative psychology. It's just psychology, but that's the way it had been.

Kezia Luckett (14m 9s):

Yes, yes. Yeah. They, they, they look at the, you know, what, what's the problem most psychology look at, what's the problem. Well, we choose to look at well, what are you doing, right? The more right stuff that you can do. And then expand on that. The more we flourish and thrive, the better we are, the more happy we are.

Mark Graban (14m 30s):

And so when, when did this new approach come around, positive psychology,

Kezia Luckett (14m 36s):

It's been around for a while, Martin Seligman, he was the chair of psychology. And he decided on this, this new approach, I trained back in 2017. And at the time there were only nine centers in the world that did a masters in positive psychology. So, you know, it's starting to build momentum now and you're seeing it ripple out and lots of things for, for me when I first went into it, when I sat in that first classroom and started learning about it, it was kind of, it felt like the science behind all the, some of the Woolworths stuff that people talk about, you know, the gratitude journaling and that think positive.

Kezia Luckett (15m 23s):

And, but there's actual science that sits behind it. And my background is science. So for me, it just made it made perfect sense to find something and to understand the science behind what makes people happy, what makes people flourish and thrive.

Mark Graban (15m 38s):

And there's more to it than, than eliminating the things that make you unhappy.

Kezia Luckett (15m 43s):

Definitely. And this is one thing that I think has, has become not a problem, but I think it could potentially become a problem is, you know, I see lots of people writing about positivity and just think happy thoughts. Well, actually my, my belief is that the so-called negative emotions are really, really valuable. They're like guidance system. You know, if you were happy all the time, how would you know, you're happy because that's just your, your, your baseline. You wouldn't know. So we need those so-called negative emotions. You come around the corner and you see a saber tooth tiger. You don't want to feel happy. You want to feel fear because you want the physiological firing of the, you know, the, the, the muscles primed and ready to run away.

Kezia Luckett (16m 29s):

You want the hormone of adrenaline, you know, flooding through your body. You want that fear off flight mode. So when people look at those so-called negative emotions and they make judgments on them and they try and push them aside or discard them or stuff them down in many cases, especially for men, we do a disservice to ourselves and those, those emotions.

Mark Graban (16m 52s):

So you mentioned earlier this idea of the energy code and kind of what I heard briefly on the kind of fluctuations and energy levels. Could you tell us more about that? And, and, and, you know, how did you come to, to study this or teach us, teach this approach?

Kezia Luckett (17m 11s):

Well, interestingly, it was that mistake, you know, seeing these incredibly successful people that had everything that they could possibly want that would potentially make them happy, but there was still that missing piece. And many of them were in overwhelmed burnout exhaustion. I was too. And I just thought, well, there is a set way in many corporations, definitely in, in many big corporations and big businesses that they expect you to lead leave, you know, lead your life whilst you're in that container. And depending on what industry it is. So things like the banking industry and trading and finance will tend to be quite masculine orientated.

Kezia Luckett (17m 55s):

It's very much the push it's very much the action it's very much the do. And so it got my brain thinking, well, there has to be a counter balance. Like there's a counter balance with positive and negative emotions. There has to be a counterbalance. And so I started diving into both the feminine and masculine energies. And, you know, regardless of whether you're male or female, we have both that reside in us and we need both. The masculine is very much doing an action and logic while the feminine is very much being, and resting and replenishing and intuition, you put those two together, they become a really powerful force. And when you put those two together, you find out that actually there are natural peaks and troughs.

Kezia Luckett (18m 40s):

There's this natural ups and downs. There'll be days that you wake up and you'll go, do you know what, actually, I just want to pull the covers of my head. And there's other days that you leap out of bed and you've got a thousand ideas running through your head and you're ready to crack on with them. So I kind of looked at enough people to understand, well, what would these energy spaces be? You know, if we've going through these different, what would they look like? And so I created my own terminology around it. So you have, and whisper, which have feminine energy spaces. And you normally end up in, in those when you've been in the masculine. So these are being energies. And then you have create and shine, which have a masculine.

Kezia Luckett (19m 23s):

So they're very much doing energies. And when you first start working with your energy code, you're operating from what you've learned. So you've learned how to be by your parents or your caregivers or your peers or your siblings or, or the teachers. So we play out these heritage patterns over here. And as we start to manage and master our energy code and understand when to pull back and when to push forward, we start to create our own unique energy code. And every single person has one.

Mark Graban (19m 53s):

And it sounds like one of the keys is to recognize your own pattern. And let's say, for example, you wake up one day and you're like, I just, I'm not feeling it today. I don't have it today. Like, don't, don't be too hard on yourself about that. At some point, accept that this is just, this is nothing to, to blame yourself or be harsh about it.

Kezia Luckett (20m 15s):

Yeah. So if you, if you look at something like nurture, nurture sounds delicious. It sounds like, oh, I'm going to go and get lots of massages. I can lie in bed all day. It would be lovely. In actual fact, nurture is the survival zone. Nurture is when you have been ignoring every warning sign that your body has given you. So when you woken up feeling like I'm not feeling it today, you've gone so ridiculous. I've got to go to work, I've got to do this. And you end up working till 11 o'clock at night. So nurture is when you've been ignoring it for so long. I ended up in the nurture energy space when I burnt out and had pneumonia. And what tends to happen in nurture is if you don't listen the universe, God, Buddha, Allah, whichever you want to call it.

Kezia Luckett (20m 56s):

It's gonna hit you with a big plank of wood and is going to make you listen. So that might look like sickness that might look like burnout. It might be a car accident. It might be something that forces you to stop. And that is the hardest energy space to master learning how to stop. Cause most of us don't know how to do it. You know, phones paying our emails, paying we're always on the go. We're always responding. We're reactive rather than proactive.

Mark Graban (21m 27s):

That's really interesting to think about. I mean, I, I'm just reflecting a little bit personally, there are some mornings where I'm having my first cup of coffee and I'm looking at a busy work from home schedule meetings, podcast, interviews, and things. Some days that's very exciting. I'll look at that and say, wow, this is going to be a really interesting, exciting day. And then some mornings it's not too often. I look at it and I think, oh no, I have such a busy day. It sounds like that may be some of these fluctuations hitting me.

Kezia Luckett (21m 59s):

Yeah. So there'll be lots of different influences for feminine, you know, for the, for the women, it could be their feminine cycle. The lunar cycle will affect the seasons. I mean, we're, we're here in the UK. We're on winter. Winter is definitely a nurture energy space is about pulling back your energy. It's about replenishing. It's about, you know, filling up your energy bucket. So certain seasons, you're going to feel different things like in the summer, I'm in create all the time because I'm just like full of energy. It feels good. So you're right. You know, depending on, on what's going on. Depends on how you feel. So when you've mastered the, the nurture energy space and you've come out of survival, then you really should only need three energy spaces, which is whisper, which is your topping up, which is where you're here.

Kezia Luckett (22m 48s):

Your body, like you just said, oh, I'm not feeling it today. Okay. You're not feeling it today. So what can you do? Can you go walk in nature? Can you, you know, block out your meetings? Is there anything you can cancel? Can you draw back your energy somehow? And in the drawing back of that energy and topping up your energy back, I like to think of it as a stainless steel bucket. As you top up, you now have energy to do the right actions at the right time with the right people. You feel inspired, you, you, you bringing in that creativity juices to be able to do stuff. And that's when you step into create or shine and shines when you're totally in alignment, everything feels amazing. You're just on it.

Kezia Luckett (23m 29s):

And you just feel amazing. So, but we need to rest in order to have those emotions. And we've been taught in society that you've just keep going each day is exactly the same as the rest. You just keep going. You just keep going. You just keep going. And if you don't feel good, you just ignore it and you just keep going.

Mark Graban (23m 47s):

It's very the thing, that's a lot for the audience to, to, to think about there and to come learn more about what you teach here on, on the website, not quite wrapping up yet, but cause he, his website is Kezia and we'll put a link in the show notes. Of course, there's different ways that you can learn from Kezia and work with her is a book in your future. It seems like this would be a very interesting book.

Kezia Luckett (24m 14s):

I'm actually in the process of writing the energy code book. So we already have a course called ignite and I'm just writing a book. And in April we're bringing out the first practitioner course, so people can train in this because my clients tend to be varied. You know, understanding your energy code is a great peak performance tool for corporates, you know? And also it's just, it's great for moms, you know, that are, stay at home moms, knowing your energy and being able to work with it is great for navigating all sorts of life situations. So yeah, there's the book is on its way.

Mark Graban (24m 53s):

Okay. Well good. I'm happy to hear that. One of the things I wanted to ask you before we do wrap up Kezia and one, one thing that you work with people on use this phrase decoding and releasing your past, and that phrase stands out to me because I think it relates to the theme of this podcast of, of reflecting, looking back on something, learning from it, maybe preventing it, but this idea of releasing something from your past, what could it, could you share a little more about that? And in context of, let's say somebody is looking back in their past about a career mistake and maybe they're being, they're still being too hard on themselves about it. How can we help process this?

Kezia Luckett (25m 34s):

Well, interestingly enough, the books that I wrote, the pay it forward notes to my younger self books really stemmed the, the, the, this idea of mind conditioning therapy. And it came on a walk on, on the day after Christmas day, which here is called boxing day. And the question kept coming in. If I could go back in time and I could change those pivotal moments, you know, those moments that actually, you might not want anybody else to know about. You're trying to keep them secret. You're trying to hide them. If I could go back and I could change those, or I could give myself words of advice, what would I say? And would I change it? And I actually did my thesis on this for my masters because it interested me that much.

Kezia Luckett (26m 18s):

Am I in my belief was that actually I didn't think people would. So when I started this book, I took each, each person that went through the book through mind conditioning therapy, where we found the memory of a pivotal moment that had influenced their beliefs, their fears and their experiences moving forward. Because often like, you know, with those mistakes, we have a choice. We have a choice how we look at them. We can either choose to believe that they're a mistake and shouldn't happen, or we can choose to believe that they're course-correcting us to where we're meant to go. You know, it's like a game of that pinball wizard thing where the ball kind of goes up, you know, each, each pivotal moment, each mistake that we go through is leading us and giving us experience.

Kezia Luckett (27m 6s):

And my view was as a positive psychologist is if we could take those experiences and we could change the way somebody believed them to be. So we could change it from a negative experience to an empowering experience, would it change their life? And the answer is yes, because there are never any mistakes or errors in our life. And regardless of what's happened to you, if we changed the way that we tell our story about it, we can change absolutely everything. So it's about finding the memory that is causing that limitation, that fear, that belief unraveling it and putting it back together in such a way that empowering. And if you think that up to 50% of your memories could just be an elaborate story because of the way that our memories work.

Kezia Luckett (27m 52s):

It's really easy to see how you can dismantle it and then put it back together in a way that actually empowers somebody.

Mark Graban (27m 59s):

Well thank you because you have for sharing, not only your story, but you know, a little bit of education for us about positive psychology and then certainly a lot, you know, a lot to think about there in terms of are we designing our life and things that we can explore about our energy and our mood and, and how we're doing. So our guest again has been Kezia Luckett. Thank you so much for being a guest today. Really appreciate it. Really

Kezia Luckett (28m 27s):

Appreciate that.

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.