For UofL alum Tabitha Scott (’93), the feeling of burnout was all too real.
Scott, who graduated with a degree in finance from the College of Business, was working as a global executive in the renewable energy industry. Shackled by society’s expectations, the need to please everyone, and the habit of putting her own needs last, she reached a point where it all became too much.
“I had built such a barrier around my emotions and my heart based on experiences I had in my life,” said Scott. “It was such a burden on my heart, and I got to a place where I finally said I’m quitting my job and giving away most of my things.”
After packing up what belongings she had left and saying goodbye to her stressful lifestyle in Nashville, Scott said hello to the remote jungle of Costa Rica.
Scott’s time at UofL was her first experience of facing the unknown, and the diverse group of people she met allowed her to expand her worldview. The lessons she learned and the people she encountered as a student at UofL served her well as she spent three months in a new country.
Living off the grid in a secluded area – miles off the paved road with no cell phone reception for miles – allowed her to experience the powerful and rewarding feeling of getting in sync with nature as she once had during her childhood.
“As a child, I had lots of animals and loved them and felt very connected to them,” said Scott, who grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. “Experiencing that reconnection, but this time with wild animals, was empowering, fascinating and inspiring.”
Between several encounters with scorpions and bats, Scott’s rekindled connection with nature and wildlife during her time in Costa Rica taught her important life lessons of taking risks and letting go of things she couldn’t control.
“I don’t want any person to feel like what others think is more important than who they authentically are and the power they have in their own right.
“One of the things I learned from bats is that they can’t fly from the ground. They have to be willing to just let go and risk falling,” she said. “That’s how we are in life – sometimes we just have to take that risk.”
During her experience, she discovered the art of journaling and found strength in getting her thoughts and feelings out on paper. Although becoming an author was never the intention, Scott was inspired to share her story with the world of how she went from burnout to reigniting her life.
“I had a wonderful Business Communications course at UofL that gave us very practical tips on writing everything from thank you letters and resumes to getting thoughts down in a concise way,” Scott said. “Those learnings carried over into writing articles, journal publications, blog entries, and of course the book.”
Her book, Trust Your Animal Instincts, is about reconnecting to your intuition and recharging to stay positive in your own life. While people don’t have to go through exactly what she felt, Scott shares her tips and tricks for recognizing signs that lead to burnout, tapping into your personal power, and rediscovering your purpose.“What inspired me to write the book was allowing myself to feel emotions for the first time in decades,” she explained. “I don’t want any person to feel like what others think is more important than who they authentically are and the power they have in their own right.”
After returning from Costa Rica rejuvenated with a new outlook on life, Scott embarked on a different career path she is passionate about. More importantly, she has adapted the valuable lessons acquired in the jungle to fit her everyday life.
“The way I’ve changed the most is if I thought someone was on a path that was destructive or negative before, I’d try to convince them otherwise,” she said. “Now, I’ve learned to redirect their energy and put a shield up to let it flow around me rather than letting it hit me. It has made me stay a lot more positive because I don’t take on negativity.”
Scott recognizes the challenge that comes with trying to completely tune out negativity, but she encourages everyone to realize how the things we do every day create ripples around us. By focusing too much on the negative things surrounding us, it pulls away from our positive energy.
“The feelings that will lift you up are love and compassion,” she said. “If you feel good about it in your heart, and if you feel passionate that you might be helping yourself and others, then I say jump off the diving board and make some ripples.”