Setting the Stage

In the back of the lobby, I burst into tears. The conference was over, but that wasn’t why I was crying. Instead, I felt like I was alone. The conference itself was fantastic. High energy, excellent learning, great camaraderie. Yet somehow, I felt excluded. The conference was designed for church planters, and I wasn’t one. Instead, I was struggling to turn around an already established church. I had attended hoping to gain some insight and left disappointed. The message I received was, “Your job is too hard, too difficult, and too low of a success rate. Try something different instead.

That was my introduction to the world of burnout. It started me on a nearly decade long journey of trying to help people overcome it. It’s what led me to doctoral school and to start my coaching business. The reality of burnout among high performing leaders is what fuels me to get up and work every day. It’s beatable. It’s preventable. It’s avoidable.

Talk About Burnout

As it turns out, one of the easiest ways to break both the stigma and the devastating influences of burnout is to talk about it. In one interview I conducted with a mental health professional and professor, he said, “We talk about it. We talk about it a lot … we frame it as an ethical mandate and don’t give people a choice. We tell them from day one that they have an ethical mandate and responsibility to themselves, their clients, and to God to be healthy in all areas of their life.”

For him, the discussion of mental health and burnout is a necessary conversation. It’s the only way to stop it.

So let’s talk about it.

There are two primary foci that need to be addressed to create a longterm sustainable solution to burnout. One focus is the personal sphere and the second is the cultural dimension. It is this cultural dimension that is often overlooked.

Maslach and Leiter in their book The Truth About Burnout highlight the great disservice that is done when burnout is discussed only in terms of the personal sphere.

“The conventional wisdom is that burnout is primarily a problem of the individual. That is, people burnout out because of flaws in their characters, behavior, or productivity. According to this perspective, people are the problem, and the solution is to change them or get rid of them.

But our research argues most emphatically otherwise. As a result of extensive study, we believe that burnout is not a problem of the people themselves but of the social environment in which people work. The structure and functioning of the workplace shape how people interact with one another and how they carry out their jobs. When the workplace does not recognize the human side of work, then the risk of burnout grows, carrying a high price with it.”

Cultural fit is just as responsible for burnout as the personal sphere, and to ignore either one of these equations does harm to all those involved.  The responsibility for healthy leadership involves both the personal mandate for care and a cultural level of agreeability.

The trouble with burnout is that there is more than physical and task-related demands. Since all jobs carry a myriad of stressors, there are also the demands of time, spiritual resources, and availability. Contemporary leaders are expected to lead like a CEO, steward financial resources, care for their own physical bodies, maintain family responsibilities, invest in others, commit to overtime, manage the team, and produce tangible results.

The end result is extreme fatigue and burnout.

A Quick Tip Win

We can’t possibly hope to stop the burnout trend in a single blog post (or even a blog series). But I do hope to make a difference. (Quick side note: this is why I switched to the weekly posting schedule. We’re going to take a week to talk about this on my various social media platforms, so if you’re not following me in other places, now is a great time to do so):

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But, if you’re feeling that overwhelm set in and know that burnout is coming if you keep your current pace up, here are three quick things you can do to help fight against this.

1.) Learn to say “No” and be O.K. with it. Burnout happens when we are overcommitted. Say no to regain time and margin in your schedule.

2.) Go fly a kite. Or play cards. Nap. Read. Go for a job. The point is: find a hobby that you want to do just because it is enjoyable and then make time to do that as often as possible.

3.) Talk about it. Talk about burnout. Talk about your fear. Name it. Find a trusted person to confide it. Don’t let it consume you. If the way to overcome it is to talk about burnout, talk about it to anyone who will listen.

What advice would you give someone struggling with burnout? Leave a comment below!

Start With The Big Rocks

“I just can’t fit it all in!”

Those were the words my client told me over the phone.

Frustrated and agitated, he was lamenting the increasing toll his recent promotion was taking on him. The commutes were longer, the workdays were more exhausting, the stress was mounting.

“Was the pay increase really worth this?” he continued. “Sure, the pay is great, but what’s the point if I can’t enjoy it. Worse than that, I barely see my family anymore!”

Perhaps you can relate.

Maybe you’ve had one of the “crazy weeks.” (Wait…isn’t every week like that???)

My advice remains the same now as it was then: start with the big rocks.

Determine Your Big Rocks

I remember hearing of a study once that examined the student’s ability to properly fill an aquarium full of rocks. There were various sizes of rocks from tiny pebbles to larger foundational rocks.

As the story goes (at least as it was reported to me), the college students started dumping rocks, starting with the small one first to fill the bottom evenly.

By the time they got to the big rocks, not everything would fit.

In contrast to this, the kindergarten students started with the big rocks and everything looking messy. But, as they poured each successively smaller version of rocks in, they filled all the gaps.

The result? The college students “failed” the experiment by not fitting in all of their assigned rocks. In contrast to this, the kindergarten students passed because all of the rocks fit.

And while dozens of life lessons could be learned from this, this is why I push my clients to start with the big rocks.

When we start with the big rocks of life, we end up having room for everything. Work is undoubtedly an important part of life, but is it our biggest rock? Probably not. (At least it shouldn’t be…)

Family, self-care, personal growth, and close relationships are all things that should take up the foundation of who we are. Hobbies and work probably come next. Small rocks include the minor areas of life that take up some time but should never take too much.

As we gain clarity on what our big rocks are, we can easily see what is out of balance with our life pace.

Learning From My Kids

One of the things I’ve learned to implement is a lesson from my four children. If I leave the house and I hear, “Bye, dad! I can’t wait to see you later!” there is a good chance that things are going well. If, on the other hand, I hear, “Noooooo. Daddy, don’t go!” followed by weeping and gnashing of teeth, I know that my priorities for work are starting to take up too much time.

In those moments, I work diligently to reshape my schedule to spend more time with my family.

Thankfully, I’m getting better at this and starting to hear those sounds of disappointment less.

But it all starts with having clarity.

  • Clarity on the key values for my life.
  • Conviction on what matters most.
  • Commitment to live a life shaped by honoring my values more than worldly demands.

But I can only do that when I start with the big rocks.

Question For Discussion: What might be something you would say to someone struggling with work-life balance? Leave a comment below!

 

Want to gain even more clarity? Sign up for my free 5-day e-course on work-life balance.

3 Strategies for Increased Success

Welcome to this week’s episode of the LeaderQuest Podcast. This week, we are talking about 3 strategies for increased success.

We are all going to experience frustration, setback, and a lack of motivation. Those that are able to push through those feelings and pursue their goals and dreams are those that will find success.

Some of it is about mindset. Knowing what you’re pursuing is vitally important.

But another part of the equation is knowing how to work smarter, not harder.

Today’s episode tackles that component.

Here are three things you can do to find success in the daily grind of life, business, family, and dream chasing.

As always, thank you for listening! I really appreciate it.
Please be sure to like, share, leave a comment, and turn on notifications to keep aware of upcoming events, live streams, and new video releases.
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One Thing

One of the things I give every coaching client is the “High-Performance Scorecard.” It’s a postcard-sized printout designed to be carried with them in their day-planner or another medium that works for them.

It reinforces many of the mental habits we talk about, keeps them focused on their goals, and gives them “check-in” techniques when they are feeling distracted.

But there’s also one focus item on there that says, “What’s one thing I did today to pursue my goals: ______________________”

After spending hours designing this scorecard, I think this is one of the most important questions on there.

Why?

Because, as a High-Performer training other high-performers, here’s what I’ve learned: we have trouble acknowledging the day-in-day-out habits of success.

I have big dreams. I write them down, track them, andmeticulously refine them to be perfect.

But if I’m honest, some days (more than I care to admit) I think “But what did I really do to get closer to my goals?”

In the day-in-day-out grind of the entrepreneurial life, I often feel like I don’t do things of consequence.

Writing a blog is a part of my business, nothing heroic.

Same with coaching a client.

And Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Networking is hard but necessary, so nothing special there.

And that’s precisely my problem. When I can convince myself that nothing matters then nothing ends up mattering.

So I put that question in the scorecard to remind my clients that what you do absolutely matters, 100% of the time.

Because what’s the alternative? Not writing the blog post? Now that would be a tragedy.

Not coaching, not engaging in social media, and not networking would mean the end to my business.

So in reality, it’s those little things that do matter. It’s the little things that add up to big wins. Big wins lead to success.

Success is what my clients pay me for.

Never Knock Progress

One of the mindsets I’ve had to change in myself, and one I work hard on my clients with, is that of the daily routine. In the scorecard, it’s a built-in process. At the end of every day, you acknowledge a success, however seemingly small or insignificant, and champion the work done.

And no matter how small a victory, I tell them, “It’s progress, and we never knock progress.”

It’s a great way to combat fatigue, discouragement, and frustration. By remembering the one thing we did today, we’re encouraged to do one more thing tomorrow.

Day after day.

Week after week.

Month after month.

Year after year.

Until all of a sudden, we realize that we’ve made our own version of success.

That’s why we celebrate one thing.

That’s why we never knock progress.


What’s one thing you would tell someone facing discouragement or disillusionment in chasing their dream?

 

Want to receive my Mental Performance Scorecard? For a limited time, I’ve giving it away to all email newsletter subscribers (in addition to my 5-day ecourse on productivity). Just sign up and you’ll receive it in the next newsletter!

LeaderQuest Podcast – Episode 9

How do you begin with the end in mind?

By being clear on where you want to end up in life.

Think of a journey, you’d never just get in your car with a half a tank of gas and randomly drive, hoping to end up somewhere fun. Instead, you’d know where you want to end up, fill up the gas tank, and plug the destination into your GPS. With the plan, you know how to succeed.

That’s what we’re talking about this week. Join Justin and Elise as they talk about how to create the life plan and vision of living life on purpose.

Connect with Justin

As always, thank you for listening! I really appreciate it.
Please be sure to like, share, leave a comment, and turn on notifications to keep aware of upcoming events, live streams, and new video releases.

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a FREE 5-day course on productivity: 

https://mailchi.mp/0b828bba9f13/emailsignup

Follow me on social media: