Marc Cinanni’s Story
Marc is a writer and musician. He lives in the forest with his partner and two daughters. He began his career at the United Nations but after going through burnout he reset his path to lead a more creative life. I met Marc whilst I was working at Typeform. Aside from writing and making beautiful music he is now also a content marketeer at Slite. Fun fact: his favourite animals are owls and goats. Since being blow away by his story I have been trying to decide on my favourite animal. What’s yours?
What’s your experience of burnout?
I started working at the United Nations in Geneva when I was 25. I was the first person in the office in the morning and often the last one to leave. I worked weekends and was doing a masters at night. One morning I woke up at 4:00 am in a panic thinking that the cleaner had thrown away one of my files. So I grabbed my badge and raced to the office. When I got there, the file was right there on my desk. The sun wasn’t even up yet. I realized that I was losing my mind.
Were there any warning signs before you burned out?
I felt dizzy whenever I walked down a flight of stairs. I started having episodes of “sidewalk rage” and developed some pretty irrational fears. Then one day I was on the train coming back from a hike and I had the worst headache of my life. That headache then turned into the worst flu of my life. And then I spent the next 4 years hauling my ass in and out of bed. My body had given up on me.
How did you recover?
I went to live in an ashram. There, amidst the rolling hills of the rainforest, I started to slowly reprogram my life. I used meditation as a form of medicine, I learned to sing, and I trained my mind to focus on positive outcomes. Once I got my mind under control, my body slowly followed. The whole process took about 6 years.
What are your favourite ways to bring happiness and calm into your days?
I get up early and go sit outside. I don’t do much, I just sit there and drink coffee. Sometimes I’ll see a deer, sometimes I’ll hear some birds. I try to sit still. Once in a while, I’ll get an insight about my life, or an idea for a story or a song. But mostly it’s just a time to remember that I’m alive and that it’s all so damn amazing.
Any tips to manage stress and overwhelm?
I zoom out. I look at how minuscule and insignificant my worries are in the grand scheme of things. Nobody knows what we’re doing here, nobody knows what life is about. And then, life becomes just an experience to me —no more, no less. Thinking on that plane relaxes me, it allows me to enjoy whatever I have in front of me.
If you had to go back to that time what, if anything, would you do differently?
Looking back, my burnout was the most important passage of my life. It saved me from working myself to death, in a profession that wasn’t feeding me. The body is so intelligent, I should’ve listened to mine more.
Final words of wisdom…
The magic of life is knowing that you can’t control any of it. Once you realize that, you free up an immense amount of energy and space where amazing things can start to happen.