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!

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.
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The Final Destination

When we left Denver for our California move, it was Valentine’s Day 2017. My wife boarded a plane with our four kids (and my mom) with a one-way ticket to Los Angeles.

Most of our items were onboard a semi-truck moving company and in transit already. After I dropped them off at the airport, I took our minivan loaded with only essential family possessions and my camping gear and headed west. With a full tank of gas and a queue of podcasts and audiobooks, I plugged my ending destination into the GPS system on my phone and took off.

Fourteen hours later I had made it. I was halfway through the trip, and after a quick one night stay at a campground, woke up early the next morning to finish the trip.

At regular intervals, I would stop, fill up the gas tank, grab some food, stretch my legs, and start a new audiobook.

Even when I stopped, got rerouted because of road work, or got stuck in traffic, my end destination stayed the same.

I had a clear goal and objective in mind: reuniting with my family.

Everybody ends up somewhere. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision. – Andy Stanley

Somewhere on Purpose

Life works the same way. So does business. Family. Hobbies. Income. Education.

You are going to end up somewhere. The only question is if it is where you wanted to be.

To get where you want to be, you have to have a vision. Practice Intentionality. Cultivate solid habits. Engage in Discipline.

To get where you want to go, you have to be clear in where it is you want to end up. 

If I had simply entered “California” or “West” into my GPS, there is a strong likelihood that I wouldn’t have ended up next to my family.

In life, if your only goal is to end up “not here,” then you probably won’t. But that also doesn’t mean the destination is any better.

Like a good GPS system with a final address, our life needs to have a clear end destination in mind. A clear goal to reach. An objective measure that we have arrived.

As a success and mindset coach, that’s much of how I work with my clients on a daily basis.

But success doesn’t have to mean financial. Maybe it means that it’s having just enough to be able to take trips with the grandkids. Success for some might mean living long enough to see a family member take over the family business. For another, it could be to lose weight and run their first 10k.

Success for one former client was to start her own business and never work for someone else again. 

For another, it was to build a speaking platform and tour the country providing health lectures. 

Ending up somewhere on purpose doesn’t happen by accident.

So, if you’re ready to end up somewhere on purpose, here are five tips to help you get started.

5 Tips to End up Somewhere on Purpose:

1.) Create a list of the non-negotiable elements of your life. Key relationships, experiences, and mindsets are always foundational.

2.) Visualize your success. Create a vision board, write it down in your journal, practice intentional meditation. Whatever it is that works for you, spend time actually thinking about and picturing yourself in that future state.

3.) Practice daily habits of success. Exercise, read a book, laugh, drink plenty of water. Create a sustainable rhythm to life that breeds success. (If you want help on this point, sign up for my high-performance newsletter and receive my best tools and tips directly in your inbox every Friday).

4.) Share your vision with someone you love. Life is best traveled with someone you love. A spouse, friend, mentor, or coach can encourage you during the downtime and help you push through the tough moments.

5.) Stay the course. It won’t happen overnight. Real Talk: It may not even happen in a thousand nights. But if you are faithful, day in and day out over the course of a lifetime, it will.


What stood out to you? Leave a comment below!