Trading burnout for balance

Holly Branson on her bike during the Strive challenge, pausing to hold one of her children
Image from Adam Slama
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 15 October 2020

I reached out to Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, CEO of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean, after discovering that she is known as the ‘Wellness CEO’ among her team. I’m so glad I did as I’ve officially added a new female idol to my list!

Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, CEO of the Branson Centre Caribbean
Image from Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship

Wellness became a focus for Lauri-Ann after she experienced the hectic juggle that comes with being a mother of two young kids while trying to balance business and life. It made her realise the importance of self-care and looking after every side of yourself – not just your professional self. After this realisation, Lauri-Ann became passionate about helping the ‘whole entrepreneur’ and making sure people place their wellbeing at the forefront of any business plans. As she said to me: 

“There are human beings behind these businesses and if we only focus on the business, the revenue, the profits and not the people, then we’re not doing the business a service.” 

We spoke about the importance of entrepreneurs staying connected to one another in 2020, while navigating our new ‘virtual’ normal, so they can learn and grow from their shared experiences. We also discussed how important it is for leaders to check in on their individual team members. Not just about their workload, but about their lives too. While we work remotely, this feels more important than ever and I know it’s something I miss a lot about the office! 

I loved getting to know Lauri-Ann better and it was amazing to see how aligned we were in our beliefs. Her focus on helping entrepreneurs thrive in all aspects of life aligned so perfectly with our mission at Big Change to help young people thrive in life, not just exams. It’s wonderful to see this holistic extension of learning – which is something that shouldn’t begin and end at school! 

Lauri-Ann focuses on what she calls The 3 S’s to help entrepreneurs avoid burnout. These are:  

  1. Systems: where can you create automated systems in your business and where can you outsource tasks? 

  2. Support: lean on people and learn to delegate so you can focus on high-value and revenue-generating activities. 

  3. Self-care: bake it into your day. Figure out your ‘rhythm of productivity’ and schedule your day around that. 

We also spoke about how difficult it can be to stay focussed and be productive when working from home or starting your own business. Lauri-Ann swears by project management tools to keep yourself and your team on track and help everyone understand their tasks and their level of accountability. A tip I will definitely try to take on board! There was so much to learn from Lauri-Ann and it was really exciting to hear about the upcoming plans for the Centre. This includes a virtual start-up summit in November (stay tuned), the launch of their third Recover Resilience programme and the development of an online self-study hub for entrepreneurs all around the world. Lauri-Ann has also just launched her own podcast called The Thriving CEO, which I subscribed to the minute I jumped off our call!  

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wellness wisdom with me Lauri-Ann! I hope you all picked up some useful ways to avoid burnout too.

Learn more about the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean right here.