Burnout Is Your Worst Enemy

10 Ways To Defeat It

burnout

If you’ve ever sat at your desk, overwhelmed and stressed, and just sobbed, I know how you feel. It happened to me, and it can happen to the best of us. The cause? Burnout. Created by overwhelm, stress, and toxic work environments.

In fact, the best of us, the driven, the high achievers, are more likely to suffer from burnout precisely because of our driven. Our drive lead us to keep pushing, keep juggling, and keep trying to do everything, until we hit the crisis point.

Of course it’s better to prevent yourself from reaching burnout, so if you recognize any of these signs – physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and / or feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment – take note and find ways to reduce the stress in your life NOW.

If it’s too late for small changes and you have hit full force burnout, what can you do to recover?

Here are 10 ways to overcome the stuck, sobbing, state of burnout:

  1. Self-care is a must. You’ve probably been neglecting yourself and your needs while you try to conquer the world, but now is the time that you must step back and put the care of your body, mind and spirit back on center stage. The basics of self-care to address for your body are, getting 8 hours sleep, staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet and getting exercise. For your mind and spirit, practice meditation, prayer, yoga and / or deep breathing to bring calm, peace and resilience back to yourself.
  2. Take a break and get away from the situation. Take a vacation now, and make it as long as you can. Take a leave of absence of 1 month if you have to. A week at home is not going to cut it. You will need some time and distance from the situation, and some real R&R to destress, gain perspective, and start to regain your health.
  3. List everything you are doing and identify the stress points. Figure out a way to reduce or eliminate as many of these as possible.
  4. Say no to new responsibilities while you recover. You can’t get out of a hole while you are still digging out the bottom. Stop all new activities and responsibilities until you can deal with, and reduce what you have.
  5. Practice gratefulness, mindfulness and positive thinking / affirmations. Recovering from burnout means turning around bad situations. You can’t do that while your mind is marinating in negativity. Mindset is a choice. Mindset is key. Looking at the good things you have, and practicing being grateful for all you have, generates an abundance mindset, Mindfulness anchors you in the present, not mired in the past or worrying about the future. Positive affirmations train your mind to expect good things.
  6. Reassess your goals or find a new passion. It’s impossible to have it all at the same time. At some point you need to sit down and look at the price you are paying to chase your goals. Are the goals still worth it? Are you still passionate about what you are doing? Do you need a change of direction? Would something else energize you and help you fulfill your dreams in a more meaningful way?
  7. Socialize with friends and colleagues. When we’re stressed, overworked and overwhelmed, it’s easy to get disconnected from our friends and family. Relationships are important sources of support and advice. Recovering from burnout involves reconnecting with people, sharing your story, and getting the emotional support you need.
  8. Identify what is essential now to prioritize and backburner the non-essentials. Reduce stress and overwhelm by identifying what is essential to do now, and what can wait. The mental clarity and stress reduction that result from focusing only on what has to be done is essential for burnout recovery. Give yourself the gift of space to breath.
  9. Return to a hobby or try a new hobby. Just like reconnecting with friends, reconnecting with hobbies or starting new ones brings FUN back into your life. Crafts are really go for destressing because of the repetitive, calming hand motions involved and the quiet focus needed. Other hobbies might get you out of your comfort zone and facing your fears. Sky diving anyone?
  10. Establish boundaries to avoid taking on too much in the future. Overwhelm and stress can happen when we feel as though we can’t say no to anyone, so we take on too much. It’s time to recognize how unhealthy that is, and respect yourself enough to be courageous, and say no to things you don’t want to do or don’t have time for. Be creative with solutions, but start establishing and keeping boundaries to protect you from overwhelm and the stress it creates.

Recovery from burnout takes time and attention. Don’t put it off.

How do you deal with burnout?

5 Ways To Get Comfortable With Being Unique

Unique

Ever felt like a fish out of water? Are you zigging while everyone else is zagging?

When you get to that place in your career or business it can feel really uncomfortable. You don’t quite fit in, and you don’t do the same things as everyone else. You may start to question yourself, your judgement, your vision, and your abilities.

The good news is that the people that change the world do so by thinking differently, being different and embracing their own uniqueness.

Here are 5 ways to think about marching to the beat of your own drum:

 

  1. It’s easier to be authentic.

Trying to change yourself to fit in with the crowd takes a lot of energy! You are constantly monitoring your facial expressions, words, and actions to make sure they are in line with the rules and expectations of others. That’s exhausting. Instead channel that energy into being the highest form of yourself. Getting in touch with who you really are and what matters most to you is the only way to be really happy.

  1. Marching to the beat of your own drum takes courage.

Hiding in the background and trying to keep a low profile to avoid criticism may work in the short term.  In the long term it will burn you out. Instead, have the courage to be yourself, and to seek out an environment where your unique gifts and talents will be appreciated and nurtured so that you can make your difference.

  1. If the crowd is going left, then success is probably found to the right.

In any line of business there are a myriad of competitors all trying to come up with me too products and following the same ‘best practices’ as everyone else. Following the crowd leads to mediocrity. If you want to be really successful you need to be comfortable doing something unique, even when everyone around you is telling you that’s not the right way. Or that you are crazy. Or that you will fail.

  1. Embracing your own unique way of thinking leads to creative problem solving.

If you approach problems through your own unique lens and stay true to your integrity and intuition, creative ‘out of the box’ solutions to problems can be uncovered. Don’t be afraid to speak up from your own unique viewpoint. It may just be the solution that the others have not yet seen.

  1. Unique people are fascinating.

Have you noticed how interesting people are when they are different and are comfortable in embracing their uniqueness? Other people are naturally drawn to them and their authenticity. They have fresh ideas, perspectives and experiences that make them more interesting and they are not afraid to share them.

It can feel like a really hard road when you think and act differently than the current wisdom. Have the courage to stay true to yourself, your vision and your values. It’s the only way to true success and happiness.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Beat Your Fears, Take Action on Your Dreams!

dreams

What would you love to be doing in your career or business if success was guaranteed? Would you go after that promotion you always wanted but don’t think you can get?

If money was not an issue, would you quit the high powered law practice that sucks all the hours out of your day, and the spirit out of your life, and go back to school to be a teacher, artist, or massage therapist?

If you couldn’t fail, would you apply for that promotion you always wanted?

Most of us have dreams, or used to have dreams, before they were swallowed up by our frantic pace of life. Our responsibilities as a bread winner, spouse, or parent overtake us, and before we know it we are just doing what we have to, in order to survive and keep paying the bills. Many of us don’t even pause to think about whether the life we have created is the one we want.

It’s not just that we don’t take the time to slow down and dream. Although we don’t. Even when we have the vague, uncomfortable feeling that we’re not really happy and fulfilled. But even for those that do dream, most don’t act on those dreams.

Why? What’s holding you back?

My guess, fear and self-doubt. It’s natural to be afraid when we think about doing something new, something with risk involved, or something that might cause us physical, emotional, or financial pain. That’s how we self-protect. The problem comes when we allow that fear to stop us from moving forward. When we were kids, fear took on the form of excitement and butterflies. As adults, we’ve lost that, and let bad experiences limit us.

Or we settle for comfortable, staying where we are. Its ok, but not great, could be worse. We don’t grow, we don’t try, we don’t reach for something better, because we are afraid that we might fail and make life worse.

That certainly happened to me. Even as my work life was miserable and abusive, I held on, hoping things would get better and go back to ‘normal’, even though normal wasn’t great. I was afraid to even consider my dream of entrepreneurship in case it didn’t work out and I made life worse. The comfortable and familiar pain was preferable to the fear of the unknown and fear of failure.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the two old guys sitting on the porch. Their old hound dog was with them and was constantly whimpering. One guy asked the other what was wrong with the dog. “He’s lying on a nail” was the response. “Well, why doesn’t he get up and move?” the first guy asked. “Guess it doesn’t hurt bad enough yet!” was the response. We’re like that old hound dog aren’t we? We won’t get out of our comfortable misery until the pain gets too bad.

Self-doubt is another insidious opponent of our dreams. Many of us have a dream, like being an executive or starting a business, but we doubt ourselves. We don’t believe we are enough, even (maybe especially) when we have accomplishments that disprove our belief. The impostor syndrome kicks in. We think “Who am I to think I could be a Vice President, a writer, a successful business owner?” Funnily enough, even successful people think like this. The difference is, they don’t allow self-doubt to stop them from trying.

Changing your mindset is the first step to realizing your dreams.

Start by dreaming without making a judgement about what is possible. Dream you dream, visualize it every day. Write it down. Each day, imagine it in more detail and write down what it looks like, feels like, smells like, tastes like, to live that dream. Think about what you would do if money wasn’t an issue and success was guaranteed. Now, instead of dismissing your dream, think about what steps you would need to take to achieve your dream, remembering that success is guaranteed while you dream and plan. See yourself being successful in whatever it is you dream about. Acknowledge that we all have doubt and fear about doing something new. Then take one small step towards your dream. Take a class, have coffee with someone who is successful in that area, read a book, start saving for your dream fund.

Keep taking action to move towards your dream, even if it’s just one baby step at a time. Don’t let fear or self-doubt stop you. Acknowledge them, but keep moving. Not following our hearts desire because we are afraid, or doubt our talents and worth, is sad. It robs us of our future and leaves us with regret. Regret that time ran out and we didn’t try. Most mistakes can be fixed with a redirect. Nothing is forever. If your dream doesn’t work the way you expected you can survive, change direction, learn and grow. You might find, as I did, that you finally feel alive again.

Finally, chasing your dream can be lonely and challenging. Enlist a supportive friend or friends, partner, mentor or coach to walk with you on the journey. They will help you keep the gremlins of fear and self-doubt at bay, believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself, and provide an independent perspective when you go through the inevitable tough spots on the way to your dreams.

We are almost at the end of 2016. Will you make 2017 the year you finally step past your fears and go after your dreams? Start planning and take action now!

Create your 2017 Vision and Plan Now

plan

It’s October already. The start of the final quarter of 2016. Pretty soon we’ll be into the blitz of holidays, starting with Halloween, the Thanksgiving, Christmas and other December based religious holidays and then New Year. The normal state of overload we all live in will be catapulted into overdrive as we attempt to shop, decorate, cook, clean, travel and socialize on top of finishing out end of year projects. If your business is on a calendar year fiscal cycle you also have all the end of year close out details to attend to. Is it any wonder that having the time so sit down and plan what you want to happen next year never seems to happen.

That’s why early October is the best time to sit down and think about what you want for your life, your career and your business next year.

Here’s how to start:

  • Schedule some time now to sit down in a quiet place and do a detailed review of 2016 to date.
  • List your achievements and obstacles.
  • Make any course corrections that may be necessary to meet your end of year goals.
  • Once you have reviewed 2016, start to think about what you want 2017 to look like.
  • Do you want a promotion, a new job, a career change or to start a new business?
  • If you are in business already, what do you want to accomplish in 2017? Do you want more customers, to launch a new product line or hit a particular income goal?
  • You can’t be successful at anything unless you define what it is you want to achieve and then lay out a strategy for achieving the goal.
  • Break the strategy down into steps to be taken in each quarter.
  • Break down the first quarter into steps to be taken each month.
  • Starting with January 2017, break the month into steps to be taken each week.
  • Think about what resources you will need to accomplish the goals
  • Think about what obstacles you may encounter. How will you overcome them?

Successful professionals, entrepreneurs and business leaders generally have a coach to work with during this process. Working with a coach provides the client an independent brain-storming partner and sounding board for ideas. The coach provides structure for the process of establishing a vision and defining goals, but will also challenge your self-limiting beliefs. You know, the ones that stop you from even considering going after what you REALLY want.

When you work with a coach it forces you to invest specific time blocks to think deeply about what you want in business and life, time that otherwise tends to get cannibalized by the many other urgent demands of your life. You invest the time to plan your steps and then have built in accountability as you know you will be reporting back on your progress during the next call. Did you complete the actions that you decided you needed to complete? If not, the coach will help you dig down into what is holding you back from moving towards your dreams.

Of course no one NEEDS a coach. So why might you WANT to engage a coach to work with you?

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. You have a huge, scary goal and don’t even know where to start.
  2. You want someone to challenge you to go after dreams that inspire you.
  3. You don’t want to spend 10 years learning how to get what you want by trial and error.
  4. Your friends and family laugh at your dreams and tell you you are crazy to want that.
  5. You are creative but not self-disciplined. You need someone to walk with you and keep you on track.
  6. You are a solopreneur or work remotely so you don’t have team feedback and support available to you.
  7. You are feeling stuck. Either in a bad work environment the chips away at your self-esteem, or because you have hit a ceiling on your career and don’t know how to bust through to the next level.
  8. You want a career change but don’t really know what is next, and want some independent support to help you work through all the choices.
  9. You want to start a business and don’t know where to start, or how to structure the transition so you don’t crash your life.

You can go it alone too – just follow the simple steps I laid out above, and be disciplined about putting in the time to think, plan and act.

Do it now, before the holidays, and have your 2017 plan ready to go. That way you actually get what you want, and can enjoy the holidays!

plan

Personalities at Work 4

Watch out all my scientist and lawyer friends, this one is for you!

C personality

In the last of this quick series on recognizing personality types at work we are going to review the high C personality style. Watch out all my scientist and lawyer friends, this one is for you!

Knowing your DISC profile is all about raising your self-awareness and finding your blind spots. We all have them, but once you realize what they are you can start working to improve them. It’s part of the idea that you need to become the person capable of doing that next level job, or creating that business, so that you are prepared when the opportunity arises.

C Personality Type

The DISC personality style of ‘C’ is also known as Correct, Controlled, and Compliant. High C’s make up 17% of the population and are very process and task oriented. If you are accurate, analytical and conscientious, you may be a high C.

High C’s are the fact-finders of any team. They are careful, precise and have high standards to maintain. Those working high C love systems and are the reality checkers in any situation. They provide much needed perspective to bring blue sky thinking down to actions that can take place in reality.

High C personalities are very logical and usually diplomatic in their interactions. They stick to the facts and are the ones who gather and test information. High C’s are inquisitive, but in a controlled and deliberate way. They tend to act predictably. High C’s appreciate beauty and may be artistically or musically gifted. They are genius prone and sensitive. They are idealistic and self-sacrificing and very loyal.

On the flip side, High C’s can appear rigid and resistant to change. They can become too serious and pessimistic. Those with a high C can get too bound up in procedures and methods and bogged down in the details. High C personalities are not good at verbalizing their feelings and hate to be criticized. High C’s can be moody and revengeful if crossed. They can suffer from low self-esteem and have a tendency to hypochondria.

In a team setting, high C’s will give in rather than argue their point, and so they can be steam-rollered by strong personalities such as D’s. If you have a high C on your team, make sure that you structure meetings in such a way that the facts, logic and the reality check of the C can be heard and considered. Make sure to give C’s the instructions, and reassurance that they are doing what is expected, that they really need to function well.

Famous people who have a high C personality style include:

Albert Einstein, Allen Greenspan, Bill Gates, Colombo, Diane Sawyer, Henry Kissinger, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Kevin Costner, Tom Brokaw, Vijay Singh, Mr. Spock.

Occupations

Here are some occupations that are naturally enjoyable to high C’s:

Engineer, Accountant, Airline pilot, Air traffic controller, Anesthesiologist, Art gallery curator, Artist, Author, Banker, Business operations management, Chef, culinary artist, Nurse, Craftsman, Criminal investigator, special agent, Designer, Dietician, Entrepreneur, Financial planning, Insurance appraiser, adjuster, Interior decorator, Inventor, Lawyer, attorney, Mechanic, Musician, composer, Park ranger, Pharmacist, Philosopher, Police officer, Professor, Scientist, Software application developer, Video game designer, Wellness consultant, nutritionist.

Well, that’s it for this series. Did you identify your characteristics and tendencies? How about those of your colleagues and family members? How are you going to apply what you learned to improve team work in your home or business and improve your career prospects? Please take a moment to comment on my blog or on your favorite social media platform.