How one nurse turned burnout into a new life and direction
Jennifer Marcenelle likes to joke that she ‘came out of the womb working.’
And Marcenelle, MBA, BSN, RN, HBC-HN, Certified Reiki, NLP, Gemstone and Diamond Therapy Practitioner, hasn’t slowed down much since. Marcenelle had her first full-time job at 15, put herself through school on multiple occasions, spent much of her 20s as a hard-driving nurse who spent every moment caring for others.
She climbed the corporate ladder as a medical sales executive, realizing the harder she worked, the more money she’d make. Then one day, it all came crashing down.
“I was silently self-destructing,” Marcenelle admits in her new book, From Burning Out to Burning Bright. “Like many people who juggle the demands of work, family, and complicated relationships, I was beyond exhausted and depressed.”
From Burning Out to Burning Bright is Marcenelle’s story of her journey back to a place of comfort, contentment, and happiness through a spiritual awakening that inspired her to reach higher than ever before – while keeping her feet planted on solid ground.
“I was starting an incredible journey to true healing, which continues to this day,” she summarized.
After spending her early career in patient care, Jennifer Marcenelle returned to school to acquire her MBA with a dream of becoming an entrepreneur. She developed her own business model before realizing it wasn’t her passion. Just as she was finalizing the sale of her concept to a group of venture capitalists, she was recruited (“kicking and screaming,” she recalls) into capital equipment and scientific laboratory sales.
“I never dreamed I’d go into sales,” she said, “but someone saw something in me that I didn’t even recognize.”
Her success was almost immediate, a fact she attributes to being a nurse with an MBA. “It was not the norm – I was the only nurse in school, and when I moved into sales, I was the only RN/MBA I knew,” she said. “But that gave me a flair, an ability to bring in new, cutting-edge technology to patient care and making it standard of care.”
That drive to compete, to make more money by working harder, came from a desire to avoid a return to her modest upbringing. “I never wanted to be in that position again – coming home and finding the lights are off,” Jennifer said. “That’s why sales attracted me: commission-based, I was good at it, and I was serving the greater good.”
But after almost two decades of grueling travel, nearly unattainable quotas, and overbearing expectations, everything came to a head in 2013 when Marcenelle headed a team of tenured professionals to create a solution for a new client. “We were expecting a signature, accolades, senior leadership approval – you name it,” she said.
Instead, an unexpected harsh rejection would turn Marcenelle’s entire career and life upside down. “We were completely ambushed,” she said. “They kicked the sandcastle right over. Humiliating, discrediting, for me but worse still for my team.”
Later at home, everything came to a head for Jennifer – not just the setback, but the years of, as she says, ‘twisting myself into a pretzel’ to succeed, to please others, and continually driving for more. “I know now that the damage had me on the edge of a neurological event,” she said.
“However, like with all heavy hits, I was thrown on a new path and the trajectory of my life changed forever,” Jennifer wrote. “On the very day I felt so burned out and betrayed by my workplace that I contemplated suicide, I experienced a transcendental experience that totally transformed my understanding of my body, heart, mind, and spirit, and ultimately my place in life.”
An (Ongoing) Journey to Recovery
Once Marcenelle recovered from what she reluctantly calls a panic attack or nervous breakdown, she was able to see what had truly occurred. “I was shown, with complete compassion, what had happened to me,” she explained. “The energetic injuries I had sustained from the hate, anger and resentment imposed on me and imposed by me on others, has burned an energetic hole through my chest. It was no longer compatible with life.”
If that’s challenging to comprehend, Marcenelle understands. In many ways, she’s still coming to terms with it today. But in other ways, she’s embracing what can only be viewed as her second chance. “I’m one of those rare people who was blessed with that second chance,” she says, “and I know I was given that second chance, and I needed to take advantage by coming back into myself.”
Rather than viewing the event through medical terms (‘panic attack’ or ‘nervous breakdown’) Marcenelle chose to take a spiritual approach to recovery by working with holistic practitioners.
(She quickly clarified, both in her book and during our conversation, that her experience is not applicable to everyone and that spiritual healing should not be used as a substitute for medical care in times of crisis.)
Nonetheless, Jennifer’s newfound sense of self-responsibility and her existing holistic nature had already led to experiences with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and quickly pointed her in the direction of Reiki, NLP and finally to Gemstone and Diamond Therapy.
“That’s when I started making great strides,” she said. “It’s an energy problem, with a multidimensional approach. I’m not just healing physically – it’s mental, it’s spiritual. The combination has brought me to where I am today, not only surviving but thriving.”
Today, Marcenelle is (needless to say) out of the corporate sales world. But don’t confuse that move for a loss of her competitive fire. She’s founded her own company, working full-time as founder and CEO of Burn Bright Today, with clienteles that enjoy Reiki, NLP, Gemstone and Diamond Therapies. Specializing in burnout was a natural path given her own experience, but Jennifer also works with athletes, orthopedic injuries, and others.
She’s created an entire community for holistic practitioners to franchise in with the Burn Bright Today community. “It’s like a holistic revolution,” she says, explaining her vision for a community of holistic practitioners as a referral base. “Clients who need multiple modalities have a resource,” she explained, “and these practitioners can make a living as holistic practitioners with assistance from others. I want to bring Gemstone and Diamond Therapy even more into the mainstream.”
At the same time, Marcenelle appreciates every step along her journey and credits that journey for where she is today. “I would not have been able to launch Burn Bright Today without all of my training, the entire School of Hard Knocks – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Now, we as people are much freer, more present in the moment, and that can be used for the greater good of all concerned.”