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Burnout to Breakthrough With Vanessa Cariba


Meet Vanessa Cariba, a guiding light for business moms seeking to transition from overwhelm to organization by building profit and creating sales pillars. 

Vanessa's path wasn't always clear-cut. Like many, she found herself trapped in the corporate box, following the herd without questioning if it truly aligned with her soul's calling. 

As the weight of conformity pressed down, Vanessa yearned for a deeper purpose—a life where she could be present for her children without sacrificing her dreams. 

But it was the relentless grind of 12 years in the same cycle that finally pushed Vanessa to her breaking point—a place of despair and burnout. Yet, in that darkness, a spark of hope flickered—a belief that there must be another way to live, to thrive.

With unwavering courage, Vanessa took a leap of faith, resigning from her corporate role despite the uncertainties that lay ahead. Supported by her husband's unwavering belief, she embarked on a journey to rediscover her true self and build a life rooted in authenticity.

Tune in to Vanessa's inspiring journey as she shares her path from burnout to breakthrough. To connect with Vanessa, visit her LinkedIn


Watch Vanessa's Story




Welcome to the I Don’t Give a Should Show – a podcast exploring ALL the ways that women SHOULD all over themselves. How many times do you find yourself acting out of obligation or doing what everyone ELSE expects from you without stopping to consider why? Where do all those beliefs that are driving you come from? If you’re tired of feeling resentful, overwhelmed, stuck, exhausted or pissed off you’re in the right place.

Shoulding all over yourself is a real thing, but it doesn’t have to be in the driver’s seat.

I’m your host Jen Sherwood, and I spent waaaaay too many years trying to prove that I was good enough and worrying what other people thought while avoiding conflict at all costs. Today, I don’t give a should – well not as many anyway and neither should you. I’m talking to women like you who figured out how to stop shoulding and start LIVING.

My guest today is Vanessa Cariba. Vanessa helps business moms go from overwhelmed to organized by building profit and creating sales pillars whilst aligning with their Christian family values. Vanessa venturing into eight businesses and finally becoming a coach is where she finds her true, authentic self.

I love it - Vanessa, I am so happy you're here. All the way from London by the way, she's representing the UK for us to London. 


Thank you for having me. 


Thank you for joining me. 

I'm thrilled to share your story, I want to hear your story. I don't know if my listeners know this, but I only get snippets because I like to hear the story as they hear it.

Vanessa, my friend, can you please tell us what it was like for you? When you were living under the shoulds?


It was tough. 

I'll go into it - me as a mum so choosing to raise a family of I've got four children and when you have one child, you can figure it out child's care. You carry on working, you follow your career path, two children. I started to feel like I shouldn't be doing this. I should be working. I should be putting my children into childcare. I should be feeling the pressure of trying to be all with it in my career. 

I was doing something quite important at the time I considered his support, and it was looking at creating policy for the under five. So it's about childcare development. It was all about, you know, safeguarding children. Yet, I felt I was so I had to use childcare and I couldn't afford it for two children - we're talking about 2000 pounds a month.

If you check if you're lacking an executive, you'll see that you're not left with a lot of money, and so I'm developing a policy for this. This will do for early years, I'm using childcare and I'm feeling stuck as to how can I do this? I'm making it a safe place for other children, but I just don't feel right going to work. 

Leaving my children in nursery with them crying and not understanding how they missed me basically, they miss me and it was quite, it was quite tough, that emotional separation with them because I didn't want to leave them but obviously you must go to work.

So I tussled with this for years and years, at least 12 years, I had the second, my third child, or my fourth child, and I was kind of in and out of employment and running a business.

I can just remember this feeling of why everybody else can do this. Why can't I? Why can't I fit in? Why don't I feel happy? Why do I sometimes need to float on grateful that I'm getting a wage, I can pay my bills and I suddenly realized that I was doing this for money and I wasn't doing this thought the love of life and living life.

It got to a point that we couldn't afford childcare, so we got into an extreme amount of debt. We used to have to take credit cards to pay for childcare, and you start doing the maps, and you're thinking of getting hooked up and working to pay somebody else to look after my children. The biggest thing is the separation of your child when you're a mother and I'm a Christian.

One of my true values, even if you're not Christian or not, is that why are you apparently to give your children away so I tussled with this for, you know, at least 12 years and it was scary. 

It was really scary because I felt quite low. I felt like, okay, I'm doing this - there was no room for promotion, I could tell you so many times, I went to go to the next level up. I couldn't, it felt like that last feeling every time we tried to get into the next levels, there was no space for me. I could remember feeling at work when my bosses said to me, why don't you go and look for another job somewhere else, because your hours here don't suit our team. 

I could remember wow, feeling so light and it was and he said it to me quite late at night. I was trying to do this, catching up with my hours catching up with people, just my work and he said this to me one day and it broke. It just broke me. It literally broke me. 


Oh, wow, I want to stop you right there. 

Before we go into the break, I want to really understand what was happening for you because this is very multi-layered as I listened to you talk. You're having your children, there's a part of you that doesn't want to go out to work, but you're going out to work for the money. 

That's what I hear you saying, which is for a lot of people, the reasoning, and you're wrestling with this, I should be able to handle this, everybody else is handling this or so it seems, you know, we don't know what's going on for anybody else so you're so for 12 years. I really want to emphasize this clearly was not an easy decision for you but this was a 12 year struggle of I should be making money. 

That means I should put the kids in daycare, I have to put the kids in daycare because they need to be safe while I'm working, and I shouldn't be doing this. What it sounds like was you wanted to be home with them because that is an important value to you. 

Everybody's got a different opinion on that, but for you, you really wanted to be with them. Was there a side of you because you went into eight businesses? Was there a side of you that wanted to be working as well? Was there a need there, or were you really just wanting to be with your kids at that time?


Honestly, I didn't know anything else. 

I didn't know I would describe it as I felt corporate life was me in a box and because everybody did it. I never questioned it. I never questioned why what I was doing to myself was essentially self-sabotaging because I did what everybody else did. 

I just didn't feel I felt odd. I felt like, yeah, why am I not happy like them? Why am I not wanting to go out with him after work and I want to spend time with my children. As things got revealed, I realized that this was the way we were made. 

I was meant to be a mom, obviously, clearly, four children.

The first time there were loads of complications. 

It was why I was doing this thing when I wanted to do this thing, and how could I have it? The argument was happy to have it both. 


I interrupted you, as you were starting to say you broke, please share that part of the journey with us. 


We had just just got a mortgage and so we were renting all that time and we managed to get a mortgage. It was at that point where you think, oh gosh, I've got to do this for another 12 years. 

I broke one day and I said to my husband that I can't. I feel claustrophobic. I can't do this anymore. 

I just feel really like when I go to work so work loved me and they loved my performance. I was always looking after the work that I needed to do and my clients would, but the thing is, I wasn't loving myself.


Yes, yes.

How many moms can say that?


There was a sense of duty it had to be for the kids. 

It has to be for the workplace, I didn't want to let my boss down, I didn't want to let my husband down. I didn't want to let myself down and disappoint myself because this is where I fit it in but all the time.

In the back of my mind, it was like, there must be another way, there must be another way, there must be another way.Essentially, it broke me it got me to a place of just I broke, I completely broke. I just like, I think that if anybody's gone through the feeling of burnout, when you've done 12 years of the same thing, and you're questioning every single day, does that hurt that feeling? That feeling of despair, that feeling of what are you made for? Why am I here? Am I a good mom? 

You know, I've got to do this again, I've got to leave them in daycare, and I've got to go out and do this thing. It was really like a point where I just want you to give up. Yeah, I can honestly imagine. I do understand that sense of just feeling like, what is the point? What am I doing here? Then maybe in that moment, I should just ask you not to assume, but in that moment, it's very difficult to see that there is another way to do life. That's why I do this series is because we do get very pigeonholed into the expectations of well, you go to university, you get married, you have children, you have a career. I mean, there's like the set things. Then when you start to think about it, that pattern isn't making me happy but what else is there?


You said claustrophobic if you're not happy and you can't see another way out. What do you do? So, Vanessa, what did you do? 


We had just got this mortgage, and houses in London were really slipping in London, very expensive. Anyway, we got the mortgage, it was just on my birthday and it was by the skin of my tail, which is really close. I don't know how the numbers were, the month numbers weren't quite right. We just had a blessing and we took it so it might have been three months into our mortgage. 

I said to my husband, I'm not going to give up yet, but I think I'm going to resign. He says yes, babe. I know you've been, I know, this is you - I don't know what you're gonna do but I know. You've got this, and I know where your heart is because he gave me that blessing. That was the night and the morning. I told him three months, I'll do it in three months, because the role that I was in I had to give three months notice.

I gave up the job the next day.

I don't even know what to stop, don't even know, have you ever felt like you calculate things but this wasn't calculated. This was just something to steaming up over years and years and years and the moment I said to my boss at the time, I'm resigning. 

I just felt like this weight had been lifted off of me. I literally wanted to cry but I couldn't because I was in the office and I just felt relief, didn't know what I was gonna do. 

I did not know what I was going to do, but I'll come to that part.

Next, just that feeling of freedom, just suddenly sort of came over me like I just felt scared. Did I do the right thing? What else do I know? What am I going to do? Another job? Am I really going to be a full time mom, all those questions came in.


It took such courage for you to be able to take that leap, you know, and it sounds like I know you have Christian values and so I know you. But I don't know, I assume that you believed there was a plan for you so it was a leap without a literal safety net. 

I'm sure your faith helped you, but also the support of your husband to say, I know you've got this and all that support to be able to make that leap. I do actually know that feeling. That's how I felt when I left out in my previous career as well. When I was just at the breaking point. I do remember having some ideas. I knew I was going to be a coach, but I didn't know what that was going to look like and so I really feel.

I love this story. It's just the fact that you resonate with this and I didn't even know there was women that resonated. 


Yes, until I got onto my path.

You know, like 12 years, obviously, including my career, but 15 years in business. I've just seen this is a common, really, really, really quite common thing when you meet other entrepreneurs who've gone on a similar path to you. 

What I want to say particularly to the woman who's listening is women don't talk about this, because there is this sense and you can tell me if this resonates with you, because there is the sense of there being something wrong with us. If everybody else is happy doing the status quo and what's expected, then it's almost shameful. How come I can't handle this? How come I can't hack it? I'm not as good at life as everyone else. 

People don't want to talk about that and yet, by not talking about it, we don't realize that there's this commonality that we're all struggling when not all of us, there are women who are very happy in their careers and balancing, you know, I don't want to take away from them. But if this is you, you're not alone. But people don't want to talk about it. It's very true. Because, as you say, We're ingrained to, you know, go into university, get a job, and, you know, just climb the ladder but that's all I knew. I didn't know anything else, so what else? What else was there? 

I didn't have any other experiences around me, little did I know I did, but I didn't. I was that little light that's shining all the time but I didn't see it because I was that and now, it has to be like this.

Follow the path.


Now I'm curious, and I'm sure other people who are listening are curious as well. 

You make the leap, you've got the sense of relief, and then what happens?


I'll take a deep breath.

And I just say to myself, what's and have to add here actually, I wasn't a Christian at that time. So I had only got baptized a year after so it wasn't okay - I wasn't, I wasn't, I didn't really have a belief system. I was raised in a Christian home but I was even anti that, everything was anti for me.

That's another story. But it was like, What am I going to do? What should I do? Like I was scared, obviously excited. My husband was very supportive, but it was me that literally had to make a decision. I never knew how to be a housewife - I think I thought I'd get really bored because I'm quite a curious person by nature. I don't think I could just be in the house. 

I wanted something more than that - I still didn't know the way so I spent a lot of time searching and speaking to people, this is the time when I just decided that I was going to speak to people and let them know, this is what I've done. The people around me at the time, because they only knew about corporate life. I had to stop speaking to the people that I knew, because they weren't the people that would help me get to the ideas that I wanted to which I didn't know what they were it was like, well, you can work part time, or you can do another job or you can, it was just part time in another job or it would all be in a different career or retrain. 

I just thought, no, I can't really speak to the people around me at the moment because they don't understand what I'm going through. It was quite hard again because the only person I had to speak to was my husband. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know when I honestly didn't know what to do. Until one day, I just got that little spark, I realized that I was looking after a number of consultants and so if we did big research projects, we would hire big consultancy companies to come in and do the research for the government. I thought there was one particular one I always watch everything he did, and I asked him if he could mentor me. And he showed me just the way that they did business. 

I realized I asked him so many questions over a period of time that I almost remembered everything he told me, and I thought, I'm gonna go out and replicate what he's taught me. Yeah. I asked him if he would take me on. If he would just take me on as a consultant. And because I had that research background, it was just almost yes. His contract was for three months, and it was half of my wages that I had for the year.

I was just like, this is just unbelievable. How could I earn money, then only work three months - that means I don't have to work for another five months. It was all just overwhelming, and I didn't even think it would be. I thought I was being tricked. I thought he would, he would ask me to work with him as a consultant and then just drop me, but it wasn't he just taught me everything he knew. 

It was from that point onwards, it was just continuously like that.

The thing that really I realized about myself, which I didn't know at the beginning, was that my blind spots were my superpowers. My superpower is connecting with people and just learning from people, just being humble enough to learn, and being curious enough to ask, and being pleasant enough to give. It is it for me, it's just like, it's that superpower one connection is to another. 

I want to help you, you might want to help me, and I don't expect you to help me if I've helped. It's just just making relationships, that's just talking to people in connection similar to what we're doing there.


Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's so interesting because we don't know our superpowers because they come so naturally to us. We just think that everyone is like that, and so I love that. You said my superpowers were my blind spots, so you didn't even see that utilizing relationships and connecting was where it was at for you. 

Incredible, so how did that then transition into the work you're doing today? 


That transitioned into so I did consultancy for a number of years and I've got more curious about how I could really help people like me.

As I said to you, I've done eight businesses, but I won't go into them but all of them stemmed from some curiosity that I wanted to sort of test and experiment and I did so. The ultimate foundation for me was that there were lots of women going through what I was going through in my career, corporate life and it's almost like they had this coat on that they needed to understand if they took it off, they might see the world in a different place. So, I retrained and became qualified as a business advisor. 

I've done a number of other other qualifications and retrained and I still didn't feel confident enough to coach. I wasn't really confident in coaching. I always felt like I needed to help people in business. 

My ultimate passion was to help women just like me.

I think most people would say this changed a lot in the pandemic and I was in between inspecting education settings, and I was doing some consultancy work. I just thought I've had it, there's no way I can work like this, I am going to coach. Finally, it's a bit like when I said I am going to leave it was the same kind of thunder, I don't know what I'm doing. 

I'm just gonna do, I'm just gonna do, I'm just gonna take the way I was trained, but I wasn't confident enough. I think that's a lot of the thing that I find with people with women, especially that we don't know our true worth; we don't know how good we are and how awesome we are until we just look in the mirror and just just just wake up and just believe in ourselves. 

I went along the coaching path, I learned some digital marketing strategies, I retrained as a digital marketer, and I ultimately started helping women just like me attract new clients, gain the confidence and make profit in their business. 


I love it. 

Women who the traditional pathway just wasn't serving them, just like you who want something different who want to create a business, that's who you work with. 


Yes, yeah and I call it busy business moms, because you're busy in your head, you're busy thinking about, you know, is it this or is that or just trying to find your path and iIt's helping them get clarity and create the steps. 



I love it so I would think there are women who are listening to this who are resonating with what you're saying, you know, even if it's not a full I'm ready to take a leap yet. It might be that she recognizes herself in your frustrations, or she recognizes herself in that, that feeling of being boxed in or claustrophobic or just the shoulds of, well, you know, the world is telling me I need to do I have to put my child in care and I have to go to work and I don't see any other way. 

Even if they're not at the point of wanting to launch a business, I could imagine there are women who, who might want a little more of you in their life, you know, having that, like you said, you talking to the people, you know who were doing the same thing who are following the same pathway, that's not going to help you figure out kind of the off ramp to that pathway, if you will.

Vanessa, if our listeners want to follow you on social media and want to connect with you, how would they find you?


Very easy. 

I am on Instagram, and everybody might be on Instagram, but if you're not, I'm Vanessa Cariba so you can follow me there. I'm always there, I'm quite visible, always having a bit of fun and with a bit of seriousness to business.


To make it fun, because I think too many people think that business is just this straight line. Do you have a website? 


I have a website at:

The other two places that you can connect with me, so Instagram is a good place. I know - it's funny that you said everybody, well, maybe not everybody. I'm sure there are stats out there on the percentage of women who are on Instagram. 

If you're not, you can always google me Vanessa stalk where you'll find my name is quite unique in itself.


It's funny, I had to laugh when you said you bring some fun into business because before for the listening audience before Vanessa and I hit record, we were giggling like little girls are gonna get time catching up before we started this, I have no doubt there is fun. 

But I also know that you are very professional. And there is serious business advice out there. But you know, it's interesting that you said that people think of business as kind of this linear thing but if you're jumping out of the corporate world to create a new life for yourself, I don't think what you want is a linear stodgy unfun experience.

Please go follow Vanessa, she’ll give you good input and fun at the same time. It's a good combination.



Jennifer:I always think humor makes everything better. 

Vanessa:It does mean, there's a real, real reason why I am. 

I put fun into what I do, only because it's a city to start off my corporate life and trying to figure it out. It was lonely and if I had somebody just to give me some ideas, or just to kind of just, you know, that path, that unknown path that we transition across, needs to feel light, so we can then get in alignment with who we really are by you find your superpowers, and then cross the bridge. I think it raises a lot of things when you're in enough fun mode, and not in that serious mode. 


100% I couldn't agree more. 

That is the perfect note to end this on, Vanessa, thank you so much for being here and for sharing your journey. I have no doubt that there are women right now who are thinking, oh, yeah, that's me and that's why we do this. That is exactly why we do this, so thank you for being here. 


Thank you for having me on the show, I really really enjoyed spending time with you today. 


Me too. 

It was completely my pleasure and to those of you that are watching or listening please do join us again on the next episode.

3 simple steps laid out in 3 bite-sized videos to go from overwhelm to ease (even if you think it's not possible!)



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