Many of us don't feel safe in burnout and see ourselves as victims of an unfair system. We grasp for control, seeking the safety we lack.
That's not working, eh?
Even if the system IS treacherous, trying to reform it can be fruitless and leave us feeling even more helpless and resentful.
No problem! If this sounds like your situation, you have MUCH more control over your own experience than you think. Don't wait for the system, find out how to return to genuine power and authority over your life.
A sense of safety is essential for sustainable burnout recovery, but the good news is that safety will come from inside you. I will teach you this critical skill.
“Safety is not the absence of threat.
It is the presence of connection.” Gabor Maté
Ep#38 Creating Safety and Trust
Ep#6 Stop feeling out of control
Ep#22 The trouble with People-pleasing
Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet, Byron Katie
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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 I'm very happy today to be speaking with you about victim hood versus authority. Because actually it's a wish very dear to my heart that all people experiencing burnout, come back to their own power, authority and full agency in their lives. And I really mean their power for and power with, power for good, not power over or against. Because power anyway isn't a binary proposition, but I really mean personal power, to be who you truly are without apology, to be an integrity, professional power as well, to show up how you want to at work and with your team, with authentic goodness, whatever your special source is. And I'm specifically saying here power to be who you truly are without apology, because I think apology is really overused tactic when we're in burnout. It feels like we need to apologize for nearly everything sometimes, for breathing sometimes. So, let's get into some power today by looking at where we lost it in the first place, and ended up feeling like victims. Let's start there. Because for most of us in burnout... Actually, we think there's been a power grab, but power was never wrenched from our fingers, it was actually freely given away by us out of sheer disdain for ourselves and who we become. We kind of stopped admiring ourselves and stopped owning the goodness within. And that's why I'm inviting you at the beginning of this to own your goodness right now, whatever that looks like for you. And so, the reason I'm bringing this to the table today actually is, I have one of my coach students in the advanced Burnout Coach certification ask me this morning, how to guide a conversation around victim hood and safety? And I think they're two really important antagonists in burnout, so I thought let's do a podcast episode and a video. And if you are anywhere near close to burnout, I think you're gonna learn something important about yourself and how to feel a whole lot safer as you go through your day, reducing fear, anxiety, dread and shame considerably, and also enjoy much reach of connections with people, the people you share your home and your workplace with. Because as Gabor Maté says, "Safety is not the absence of threat. It's the presence of connection." I'm just gonna let that sink in for a minute. Safety is not the absence of threat, it's the presence of connection. And I think if that perhaps is a little prompt to reconsider the kind of logical but doomed strategy we are adopt when we're really afraid of hiding away from those decent supportive people in our world so that we can lick our wounds in private, if you like. And what if those exact people were the people who are gonna help you get your shit together and come back to the surface, 'cause I bet they love you, right? Anyway, I digress as ever. What I'm gonna do is, today I'm gonna offer a bunch of exercises, so you can go ahead and pause after you hear the instructions for each exercise and write down the answers from your life. Not if you're driving, obviously, please do it later. If it's safe to do it, stop and do the exercises. Because really, when we're thinking about our lives and talking to ourselves about our lives, it's all story, everything in life, all our experiences, our recollections, they're really just in our heads. Life is just a story we tell ourselves over and over to reinforce who we think we are and how the world's treating us. Anything that happened to you in the past is gone, now it exists only as a story inside your head. And the really spooky part is very few facts make it through alive into our stories. Our lives to a greater degree quite fictional and even that fiction changes over time. So, if that's the case, what we really have in burnout is a golden opportunity to re write that whole story about ourselves. We can actually become the PR firm of our own lives. We can edit the fiction to suit us better, and that my friends is a job worth doing when you're in the doldrums of burnout and you're speaking all kinds of evil, judgemental shit to yourself about yourself. It's gotta go, right? 'Cause your mind is only making up that shit, it's nothing like true. And that's in a, kind of in the generous rewriting of our own story, lies our ability to recover from burnout. And if you want to get a little bit forensic about your own situation and your own story, I would invite you to write the story you're telling yourself about your own life or about your current situation, about your burnout. So, I mean, you can do this now, when I've explained how to do it, just pause and do it. Write what happened, write down how you reacted to it, what other people did, what they said, or what they thought, because you're a mind reader, right? What you think about those people? What they should have done? Just let all that come out. And when you re read it back to yourself at the end, notice where you're giving your power away. Your where you're in blame, you're in resentment, you're in justification. And I always say a really good resource for this is Byron Katie, she... Her work centers around something called the Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet, which is perfect with this occasion. I'll link to it in the show note, if you don't know it. So write your story. And then ask yourself, is the story true? Is everything I've written true? Do I really know it's true? This is Byron Katie speaking. And simply offer yourself another version of the story from another perspective of power. Write it as if you have power and you're taking action consistent with that. So you really just ask yourself, what if I'm not helpless? What if I have all the power that I need? What if using that power is completely safe for me? What if I'm just one glorious human being? What would I do if I believed all those things? And just rewrite your story from that viewpoint. Because really, victim hood is the perceived lack of power and authority. Victim hood is seeing ourselves as having little power and others as having more power and friendly listening, who is having a patriarchal experience. I'm including that in here. So many other power imbalances in life around race, poverty, education, politics, religion, and so on. So many power imbalances that we don't like so much. And in burnout, really to some extent, we all feel like victims, and in victim hood, we feel unsafe. So that's why for me, creating safety through personal authority really underpins burnout recovery. And if you're listening to this and you think, "Well, I don't feel like a victim," ask yourself this, right? Do you experience resentment, judgment, or blame, fear of criticism, anxiety about meeting performance expectations, job insecurity, irritation, aggression or impatience, rage, helplessness, dread, being talked down or excluded from decision making, not daring to offer opinions or ideas, not seeking promotion, not speaking up about injustice, not seeking help or asking for what you need, not wanting people to see who you really are. If you've got any of those, all of those are the flag bearers of victim hood. So I think the question then, if you can identify yourself anywhere in there, the question becomes, why are you letting your own authority go? Why are you delegating it to other people? So here's another exercise you can come back to when you've got a pen and paper handy or a device you can type into. Again, not please when you're driving, think about a situation first where you feel that you have little or no power. And in that situation, ask yourself these questions. And I don't really mean where you've been physically attacked or abused or anything like that, I'm talking about power at work. So in this situation, what power are you giving away? What are you thinking that causes you to give that authority away? What's the fear? Why are you choosing to think that way? What's the worst that can happen if you express yourself? What power might you still reclaim in this situation? If you did have power, how would you approach the situation? What value might you offer in this situation? And most importantly, I think what prevents you being in your own authority right now? In a work situation, particularly women might think that they need to defer to men. Okay, I get that. But I would counter with why were you hired to your position? What's your value proposition? What value did they see in you? And also, what does holding back or how, how does holding back help you provide better service? And what's the cost of holding back to you or to other people? Because essentially, you can only be you. So holding out the, on the you ness of you, it might seem a bit self protective in the moment, but is it really or are you hurting just the same? Here's another exercise just to help you see what you're creating for yourself. Ask yourself, what's the price you're paying for abdicating your power to somebody else? Because staying in victim hood has a payoff. So it's really good to understand what that is in any given situation for you. So what don't you have to do if you're a victim? What do you avoid doing? Or what don't you have to risk if you're giving your power away? And really to try and tell yourself the truth here, because often what we risk if we take the power back is rejection, failure, looking stupid, telling an uncomfortable truth, that's a really big one. Giving other people an opportunity to judge or criticise you. But really choosing to back down and be a victim is choosing failure before the fact. So it's 100% failure and the arrow of that's really gonna pierce your soul in the end. So this is what I think of as kind of the dead eyes of burnout right there. So we looked a little bit at victim hood and authenticity. Now let's look at safety. As a coach, I can detect lack of safety in almost any conversation about burnout, because burnout is disconnection and disconnection is unsafe by its nature. So back to Gabor Maté, Safety is not the absence of threat, it's the presence of connection. So lack of safety then underlies I think the entire burnout experience and lack of safety shows up in anxiety, fear of judgment and criticism, failure, rejection, impatience, irritation with others, dread on waking up, rumination in the night, self criticism, compulsive behaviors and addictions, people pleasing, perfectionism, overworking and being always on. Not saying no, not voicing an opinion, resentment and blame, indecision, difficulty delegating. All of that's pretty similar to the list for victim hood actually. But the most obvious way, the lack of safety shows up for me is in the need for control. If you're feeling out of control or if you're feeling in need for more control than you have, what is the safety that you seek, that you'll get when you've controlled things to your liking? Hey. What safety are you looking for when you're trying to control things? And why don't you have that safety now? I actually propose that, number one, the feeling of lack of safety starts inside you, that's where the deficit of safety is. Number two, probably early in life, you weren't confident of getting your physical and relationship needs met, and you've been feeling a little bit unsafe ever since. And number three, right now, it's probably because your relationship with yourself is not supporting you enough. Take it or leave it, but I think what happens is, you don't feel safe inside you, so you're looking for safety outside and to get it, you need to control your environment, by Which I really mean people. You'll manipulate things to get an outcome that feel safe for you, but I think this is a tough gig because often other people resist being manipulated and they don't do what you need them to do, and you'll keep feeling unsafe, but now also they resent you for trying to manipulate them. So here's an exercise for you when you feel the urge for control. Ask yourself these questions about yourself, where am I not listening to, standing up for, protecting, advocating for, accepting, nourishing, approving of and caring for myself? Really go down that list and write that all out. And if I wanted to give myself unconditional love and approval, what would that look like right now? Creating safety, I think, is simply caring for the inner child who didn't get what he or she needed, and as an adult is still reactive in situations that mirror that childhood experience. So for me, it seems to work out really well for us to re parent ourselves. And to do that, you can just tune into your inner child. Imagine or visualize them in distress, standing there feeling scared or running towards you, waving their arms and screaming, whatever... However it looks to you and ask yourself this, what does that kid need from me right now? And then what you can do is, over time, you can practice finding out how to satisfy that need from your adult self to your child self. And if you'd like to hear a little bit more about this practice, listen to episode number 38 on safety and trust, I'll put that in the show notes as well. And I really hope today that you've learned a little bit about victim hood, authority and safety, it's completely feasible for you to create your own power, and it's okay for you to do that, it's safe for you to do that. Because it's not, creating our own power is not imposing on other people, it's just claiming what's rightfully ours. And I teach this, this is one of the fundamental steps to burnout recovery, and I think you can do it because this is what I teach all of my clients to do so they can create that foundation of safety inside themselves and be a bit less needy to control everything around them. So, that's what I have for you today. I am gonna put some other resources in the show notes for you about that, where I've made other podcast episodes, particularly, thank you very much for being here and watching or listening today, I appreciate that. If you're in burnout, please listen to the link at the end. You must come and talk to me about how to recover quickly and sustainably and get back to your best performance, leadership, and most of all, enjoyment inside work and out. If you're in burnout and ready to recover, come and join my Burnout to Leadership Program. You can book in to talk with me at burnout.dexrandall.com. Just tell me what's bugging you, and let's make a plan to fix it.