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Hi everyone, my name is Dex Randall, and this is the Burnout to Leadership podcast. Where I teach professional men to recover from burnout and get back to passion and reward at work. Hello, my friends, this is Dex, and today let us look at courage to be me. Because really, it's gonna affect so many people who are in burnout, and it afflicts me kind of at intervals. And I'm having a bit of a moment right now where I'm a little bit in doubt that the person I am is the person that people would like me to be in my case. And that's partly because I'm not the most social cove, I got a lot of love in my heart, but I'm not a particularly social person. And so I'm not a very good networker either actually. I tend to kind of stick to my thing and get on with it, and I'm getting a bit of kickback on that at the moment. And the courage to be me is something I need to call upon very much. So, to inspire myself as much as to inspire anyone else, let's look at that today. So, first of all, what is courage? I think the definition is the ability to act in spite of fear. And of course, it's not the absence of fear, it's basically I think of it as the willingness to move through fear, to dance with fear, or if you like... If you're suffering, it's about going through hell. Just keep going. So really, when we think about humans then, and I'm sure we're not alone in this, but there's two major motivationalforces in us:
Love and fear, and both of those are survival instincts. It did take me a long time though to understand that in reality the opposite of fear, when you're actually feeling it and freezing on the spot, the opposite of fear isn't love, it's courage. And now I'm thinking about the old metaphor about the two dogs in a fight, asked which one wins, the answer is always the one you feed. So, basically, do you want to feed your fear or your courage? 'Cause actually a by product of practicing courage is it increases your capacity to be courageous in the future. So, it's kinda got a bit of a payoff. But of course, we're not talking about physical courage here. Most of us have got little need for that, which in some ways is a shame because it can be a right of passage for young men. But anyway, what we're talking about is the courage to face up to who we actually are, the whole mess and the whole glory, and make that okay by us. So, the fear we're really talking about then is fear of rejection, judgment, failure, loss. It's an entirely natural survival instinct, that we've somewhat perverted these days to our cause of self hatred, self doubt, self judgment. Because really we want to belong in the modern world to a complex and ever changing herd of people who we may or may not have even met. Who may be very diverse, very geographically scattered, but who nonetheless we depend on socially, financially and emotionally. We weave this structure around us, this support network that helps us define who we are. And if it collapses suddenly, or if we aren't willing or able to connect with the power and juice of it, or if it doesn't nourish our sense of self, well, then we don't know who we are and that's the problem. It's also what happens when we have a big unexpected life change. Like my neighbor, a pilot who one day collapsed unconscious in the supermarket, turned out he had Vasovagal Syncope. But it really did take a while to diagnose and he couldn't fly or drive a car for many months after that. He was basically stuck at home asking himself what had gone wrong. It's what happens in burnout too. If we get to the stage where we leave our job or get demoted or rejected or transferred, we get this sudden loss of equilibrium, like a client of mine who worked as a civilian for the military and lost his job. His self image was so shattered that he remained unemployed for more than a year. He couldn't connect to his own value, and he felt like he wouldn't fit in anywhere else unless he disguised who he was and the experiences that he'd had. Needing the support of others can also keep us stuck in a job we don't like, like another client, a senior journalist who wanted to step up to an executive position, but really struggled to see himself as that person. He did seek mentors and he built a new support network at that level, but he really had challenges on level ing his self image to meet it. We talked quite frequently about who he was, that his organization didn't even know about; all the hidden skills and talents that he hadn't mentioned because they weren't in his job description. Mostly, I think when we don't have the courage to be who we are, we're settling for less. We show this kind of small safe cookie cutter version of ourselves, probably the minimum we can get away with, and it's just a dumbed down version that everyone will like, won't they? The pieces of ourselves we hide or disown are often the most personal, but also the most vivid and powerful and colorful. Our greatest contribution comes from this larger freer version of ourselves where we're in flow, because when we hide the pain, we also hide the glory. And no wonder then, we feel dissatisfied. Also, let's be clear that society at large doesn't want us to be who we are. It rewards us for our tact and diplomacy, our little white lies, our fitting in, our avoidance of taboo subjects and adherence to the rules and our ability to be that chameleon. It rewards us for showing our game face and pretending it's the only one we have. But most of all, I think it rewards us for being undemanding, appearing happy, strong, perfect, the picture of success. So that we're not a burden, we're not needy, and we can be relied on to play our part in society, nice and quiet. So, if we want to be ourselves, we basically have to screw up all of our courage and bear our soul, buck the system a little bit. Be vulnerable, raw, honest and open, and actually connect directly with people and with ourselves through our hearts. And why on earth, you might ask, would we want to do that? Well, if you're not happy with how things are in your life or if you have goals, any impossible goal needs courage, it's going to ask something of you that you've never done, you need to grow to meet the challenge. You need to forget who you were and become who you are not yet. You need to encounter and work with doubt, confusion, failure, self judgment, insecurity, anxiety, change, of course, and overwhelm. You need to be willing to find out who you are and that my friend takes guts. If it didn't, if it was easy, then everyone who'd made a meditation book would take the path to enlightenment, relieving their own suffering and the burdens of those around them, and radiating unconditional love and peace. I don't know about you, but I took another track and I've been reading meditation books for decades, don't get me wrong, I still haven't found it that easy to be me. The path to authenticity asks us to confront all our pain and fear, all the negative energy stored in our minds and in our bodies over the years. And we're not wired to do that, our standard practice is to avoid fear like the plague. I'm actually not courageous. I don't come from a courageous family. My dad was a coward, he didn't wanna go to war. His urge was to run and hide, and how he hated himself for that. It was his biggest shame. He told me only once that he was a coward and how it had affected him. And I could feel the intensity of it burning inside him, the lack of self regard. And I sensed in him the desire for an absolution that it really wasn't in my power to give. He was actually a very good man, a gentleman, well loved, but dwelling inside all of his avoidance was this biggest load of anxiety. And it built up over a lifetime until it became crippling, and eventually he stopped leaving home, he abandoned his mates and he took to drinking. He became fearful of every small thing. And even though I promised myself I never would, I followed in his footsteps. I lack courage. For me, one of the ways that showed up is in all the little behaviors I had that ushered in the burnout that I experienced. But really now I'm kind of on a new track and although I'm the same person I've always been, I have changed some behaviors on purpose by intentional practice. And what I've done is, I've really uplifted my relationship with myself. I have cultivated a practice of quite deliberate self approval, self appreciation, taking myself seriously, wondering what it is that I need, giving myself the nourishment and even the nurturing that I need, and also finding myself worthy, finding myself worthy without needing to actually do anything or be anything specific, just being fundamentally decent and finding that enough. You just notice if we don't choose to be authentic, our natural full selves as we're designed, we're also gonna be lonely. And the root of this loneliness is disconnection from the self, not really other people, it starts at home. We won't know who we are or really what makes us happy, we won't attend to our emotional needs, and if we don't do that, where do we learn? Where do we learn that from? I think it's in our childhood templates for how relationships should be and how we should relate to ourselves. Our parents and grandparents and all of that taught us how to treat ourselves, how to relate with ourselves and speak to ourselves. So, I think about it like this, what did our grandparents teach our parents about the self relationship? And what did our parents model to us? And what then are we modeling to our children? For myself as a child, it was literally a little bit unsafe to be me or to seek attention particularly. And I was angry. I was always processing this helpless rage of being dangerously seen and dangerously unseen. And really as an adult, particularly with coaching, I've been un learning all of that and learning how to show myself more love and care. But you know, if that's true about our template for relationships, then if we felt unequal to the challenge of being our full selves, then no surprises, it's not really actually our fault. But self judgment about it isn't going to add anything useful, and it's not gonna make us braver in embracing who we are. Self acceptance and self approval are the way forward. And for those of us, if it feels unfamiliar at first, we can learn those things, they're just like any skill, we can practice them. And we do that through coaching, those are among the skills I teach, and actually I teach them pretty early on. It's all about cultivating the best relationship, creating the best relationship with the self so that we can relax and just be who we are, letting all the goodness that's already inside of us come to the surface without the encumbrance of all that negative self talk. When I work with clients, a lot of them have disconnected from their true selves. They've been taught to do that generally. They've lost touch with what they like, what relaxes them, what inspires and rewards them. And when they engage with coaching, coaching helps them reclaim all of that goodness. They kind of color themselves back in and start making more courageous choices for themselves that bring them more joy. And here's what courage looks like for them on the ground on a Monday morning when the inner voice is already going. So it's getting out of bed. Ignoring all your messages, TV, and social media. You can hear the inner critic, but not believing it anymore. And then it kind of helps you to let go of this restless urgency you might feel to make everything right so that the day is gonna go okay. You can remind yourself that your heart's in the right place and you're plenty good enough already. It enables you to rest in your own decency without needing to rush about and prove yourself worthy all day long. And here's maybe whatit looks like at work:
You're basically going to arrive in the calm, in the confidence of self trust, knowing you're naturally doing your best all the time. If you make a mistake or if somebody else makes one, simply generating compassion for your humanity and theirs. Of course, mistakes will always be made. Well being really hinges on the courage to be present now to whatever is happening. To all the glory, and all the mess, all the success, and the fear, and the pain. Opening yourself up to the full experience of being human without finding anything at fault with that and letting that cloud your judgment of yourself. Meditation is really a wonderful way of doing that, it's a wonderful way to stay in the moment. And when we're in meditation, we can let go of worries about the past and anxiety about a future, and we can live in the now. 'Cause generally speaking, right now there's nothing actually going wrong. So, if all the things I've talked about today sound a tiny bit far fetched to you, if you're experiencing burn out, I promise you that all of that is available. You can build the courage to be you, and it will make your life easier. You can stop trying to pretend to be someone or something else. I think it's one of the biggest benefits of coaching really, the self relationship. Because being you, the full you, is much easier, more restful and rewarding, than being that cardboard cut out you've been pushing out to the world. The only barrier between you and that ease is facing your fear. And coaching teaches you how to do that. So, if you've heard yourself somewhere in that today and if you're a man in burnout, come and talk to me because it's all fixable. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with you and it is okay to be you already. So, thanks so much for listening today. Appreciate that you're here. If you're in burnout, come and talk to me about how to recover quickly and sustainably and get back to your best performance and enjoyment yet inside work and out. If you're in burnout and ready to recover, come and join my Burnout To Leadership Program. You can look into talk with me at Burnout.dexrandall.com. Just tell me what's bugging you, and let's make a plan to fix it.