If there are two words that best describe me and everyone I know, they are definitely these: burnt out. I can't remember the last time I wasn't feeling at least a little bit stressed, a little bit overwhelmed, and unaligned with the world around me, particularly when it comes to work-life balance.
As 2018 drew to a close, I decided to look for ways to rebalance myself, and better understand my burnout. I was intrigued by a practice called Human Design, which claims to help people understand, on an individual level, why they operate the way they do. It is an emotional, energetic, and psychological analysis of an individual, and it utilizes a number of esoteric systems such as astrology, I Ching, the chakra system, the Kabbalah, and quantum physics, and it's all based on the exact time, date, and place we're born.
I met with Erin Claire Jones, a New York City-based Human Design expert who focuses her analyses on the problems people have in the workplace. She generated my chart and analyzed my reading in great detail, which ended up having a pretty profound effect on how I function at work—and in general.
In a Human Design reading, people are initially placed into one of five foundational leader types, as Jones describes below:
Generators are essentially the life force of the population who are designed to work and to love the work they do—oftentimes working themselves to the point of exhaustion, but loving the work that they do. They are deeply satisfied in the work that they do. Generators make up 33 percent of the population.
Manifesting generators are similar to generators, as they're designed to work and to love the work they do, but they're known for their ability to bring things to life quickly and efficiently. They also have a ton of different interests resulting in a not-so-linear career path. Manifesting generators make up 37 percent of the population.
Manifestors are here to initiate and get things started, bringing new ideas and concepts to the world. They're designed to work and act independently. Manifestors make up 9 percent of the population.
Projectors are natural leaders, but are not designed to do all the doing, but are instead designed to be a guide and support for others, especially when they feel recognized and invited in—often making better managers than doers. They make up 20 percent of the population.
Lastly, there are reflectors, who mirror back the energy around them. They are great facilitators and evaluators, able to offer a perspective that's unique and different, and are able to see thee things that often go unnoticed. They are extremely rare, making up 1 percent of the population.
From there, your personal chart expands on various aspects of your personality, from how you can most effectively communicate with others, how to make trustworthy decisions, how you best proves information, areas of distraction that can take you off course, signals that indicate whether you're on- or off-track, business skills and gifts that you bring to the table, the environment you best operate in, and how you manifest your purpose in the world.
So what did my chart and Jones' analysis say about me? Well, there was a lot—a 36-page report to be exact. But I found it illuminating; it put a lot of aspects of my personality into context and gave me the tools to better understand myself.
I fall into the projector category, meaning I'm a natural leader—which always feels nice to hear. But, to be honest, I oftentimes struggle to consider myself a leader, even though this isn't the first time a reading or analysis of some sort has deemed me one (I mean, I'm a Gemini sun, come on!). However, I've oftentimes grouped "leader" as the same thing as an "innovator" or a "go-getter"—something I've been conditioned to constantly strive for since I was a child—but this is the first time that something has brought to light the fact that I'm not meant to run after every opportunity that presents itself and be the best at literally every single thing. And that alone has been pretty comforting and anxiety-reducing.
In fact, according to my reading, the way I'm programmed to communicate and take on opportunities is to wait for recognition and an actual invitation before engaging. In a way, this is something the old me would consider being lazy, and then I thought about it: Every major career milestone I've had thus far came from being patient and being sought out, rather than going after something on my own. Hmm.
Jones' report also went over the five main ways I get distracted, burnt out, and taken off course when it comes to making decisions and maintaining healthy relationships, which had everything to do with a lack of self-confidence and a tendency to overcompensate, as well as being too overzealous and taking on too much at once (all very, very true). However, I began to take the many helpful tools listed for each and incorporate them into my every day, whether it's taking the time to slow down when I feel overwhelmed, or even taking the time to get up and take a walk or decompress in another room before I go back to whatever project it is I'm working on.
While Jones tends to focus on helping those in a workplace environment, Human Design readings can be applied to all aspects of your life. "You can use Human Design in every decision you make, including how you're picking opportunities, choosing friends and romantic partners, pursuing purpose and career—everything," she says. "It gives you a language and a framework to think about how you operate and, more importantly, how you can find your flow."
Soon, I found it easy to apply this newfound knowledge of myself to things outside of career. One thing that Jones brought up in my reading that really stuck out to me was the fact that when things just aren't working out—projects, relationships, anything—I express that through bitterness, and when they are, I truly feel that sense of success. I began to notice myself internally feeling bitter in specific situations, whether at the office or at home or with friends, and it was the eye-opening catalyst I needed in order to make things right.
What I found to be the most helpful was the fact that Jones ended her report with a daily ritual to help me make sure I stay in tune with myself in the form of a series of questions to ask and reflect on at the end of each day. They cover everything from how I've handled various distractions, whether I've noticed myself feeling successful or bitter, and how others around me have reacted to any new approaches I've taken. Allowing myself to do this—a habit I've made into a daily journal entry—has helped me track my progress and take note of positive changes.
While it hasn't changed the way I work or live my life entirely, I now have a much better understanding of the situations I should be putting myself in and the ones to avoid, and how I can better trust myself and the decisions I make. I learned the types of things that make me tick, and while some problems are unavoidable, I've been provided with tools to better navigate these situations. And I now also have a useful set of tools for when I find myself overwhelmed and anxious—and bitter—and need to realign myself in some aspect of my life.
Interested in a Human Design reading for yourself? You can easily calculate yours, the same way you would with a birth chart, here, though you'll want an expert to interpret it. If you're in the NYC area, you can catch Jones' upcoming Human Design workshops on Saturday, January 12, and Sunday, January 27.