Here are 5 reasons you might baulk when someone makes you a wonderful offer to create a better life. I show you how to overcome your own objections, if the offer's something you actually do want.
92% of New Year's Resolutions end up in the weeds. Learn how to put yourself in the 8% that make theirs happen.
Our brains are biased against new ideas, but if you understand where your reservations are coming from, you CAN create the change you seek.
As we come on to the New Year, you can use this understanding to empower better choices for the coming year, and to stick to those choices.
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Hi everyone, my name's 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, glad you could join me for this week's podcast episode on Opening up to Better Things in Your Life. Because I've noticed in a strange and mysterious way, many of us don't say yes to a better life, even when the opportunity presents. And rather than inviting delicious new possibilities for happiness, we get nervous, we shut down and we walk away. Weird, right? Because we'd all like to be happier. I never met anyone who didn't, well, possibly apart from elevated souls like the Dalai Lama, whom I often use as a preference point. He's really bloody good at creating his own happiness. And for anyone who doesn't know, the aim of Buddhism is to be happy. Not in the eating more chocolate or having better sex way, but in the sense of this deep, unshakable contentment with life, in finding peace with who we are and the way things are. And when I think about this and us seeking happiness, if we do shut down and walk away, hiding in life is not going to win us the day really. We got to jump. And I'm not promoting any religious views here, I really prefer to think of this as more a universal truth, whatever your religion, your spirituality or your views. But anyway, here is what the Dalai Lama has said, and I quote, "I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning, nor education, nor ideology affect this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it's important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness." Hard to argue with that. And if you're in burnout and you feel like punching me right now because you're in the valley of darkness, and I'm talking about happiness, let me just share this. When I coach you out of burnout, you're really going to get a taste of happiness. That's the whole point. And it's going to be... Well, think of it like this. It's a life that's going to bother you a lot less, where people are a whole lot more enjoyable to be around, where your inner critic pipes down and life is generally just a whole ton more acceptable to you. And hence, that's our theme for today; Embracing change in order to experience more happiness. Because of course, I'm a coach. If you're bloody miserable now, I'd love to offer you a path to more happiness and satisfaction. Of course, I would. And what came into mind when I thought about that was, Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was an Indian spiritual teacher, and he said this towards the end of his life, to his students who really wanted to understand, they wanted more specific guidance. What he said is, "Do you want to know my secret? I don't mind what happens." Think about that for a minute. That, my friends, is enlightenment. So that's what I think we need to explore, why we don't accept the good change very readily. I mean, we might sometimes, but often we feel confronted by the possibility of good change. So, we'll look at that. We'll also look at how we can accept it, how we can invite it, how we can cultivate it. So let's get into that, especially at this time of year. It's December as I record this, when work pressure and social pressure can combine into a more intense burden, right when we're supposed to be embodying this full seasonal good cheer, and expectations are often riding pretty high. It's a horrible time to be burnt out, in my experience. So if you're in that place right now, I feel compassion for you, to be honest. But thinking about all of this, why do you reckon we don't embrace good change? I'm going to present a few reasons here. See which ones you think might be in operation for you. Then I'm going to talk about how to overcome each one if they're blocking you from getting the result you want in your life. And let's first begin by understanding that every decision we make is based on how we think we're going to feel afterwards. Decisions are always feelings based, no matter how logical, rational or analytical we think we be. So this means that our brains are really good at deciding not to step out in front of a car or, yes, we will eat another piece of cake, but they're not so crash hot at creating big life change. So, let's explore why. And I think reason number one for me is, in evolutionary terms, we're wired to resist change. Cavemen didn't survive by living in a cave one day, all protected from the elements and from wildlife, nice fire going, food stored up by the wall, surrounded by family and friends, Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' playing on the stereo. They didn't move from that to, "I know, love. Why don't we build a nest up a tree tomorrow?" Right? Didn't make sense. Survival of the fittest or not, our brains don't encourage us to explore the unknown. The risk benefit analysis just doesn't work out. So whatever worked yesterday to keep us alive, let's do it again. No worries. It's preferable to say voting in a new president and hoping for the best or buying a ticket to live on Mars. And reason number one has to be that in evolutionary terms, our brains think change sucks. And given the speed of change in our world right now, no wonder half our synapses are fried and we don't know if we're coming or going. This burnout epidemic is currently thriving on our modern romp into this massive, uncertain future. We probably evolved to have a very enlarged amygdala as a new feature. Can I take any bets on that one? So, evolution is against you when something offers you a better life. And that applies to me and you when we're in burnout. When I told you just now I'd help you feel better, you probably flipped into this kind of deep suspicion setting in your amygdala, and everything ground to a halt in your brain. Probably stopped listening, tuned out for a minute... And whether you noticed that happen or not, you probably could hear the negative self talk about why this isn't going to work for you. And good for you if you did, because that means your self protective brain is working the way it should be. But later, I'm going to talk about the people who didn't react that way because they're the ones who are actually getting the better life. There are people listening to this episode now and people that I've worked with who cannot do suspend that voice of fear and alarm. They're the ones who just do it. They're the ones who jump. They're the ones who retain access to this better life experience. And happily, I really don't know quite how this came about, but I am one such person and I learned a new way, and we'll talk about that bit in a minute. So that's reason one, evolution. Reason two, lack of trust. When someone offers us something, something great, we kind of have a tendency to think that it sounds too good to be true, don't we? But we're not sure. If we're not sure, we're going to say no. If the offer is unfamiliar, we're going to say no. If we fear making a wrong decision, we'll say no. Because the mind in doubt always says no. Refer back to reason one. We don't like change. So we tell ourselves it's not a good enough bet that we'll get what we came for. And that sounds completely rational, doesn't it? Actually, we're making that decision based on confirmation bias, what we know has gone wrong for us in the past. And also lack of sufficient information. Maybe we've learned that trusting people can be very risky. Possibly true. People may have let us down in the past and we're not keen to be vulnerable to that happening again. But we're often assessing this new opportunity against unrelated failure in the past, unrelated betrayal from people in the past. So that means really we're overcompensating from past experience. We can be over defensive. One rotten apple, right? Well, of course, this new opportunity could be another rotten apple, you don't know. So, caution can absolutely be protective. But sometimes, we're just a bit leery of the unfamiliar. And this applies particularly to people who've experienced trauma in the past. And that may have happened to people who are in burnout and who've not been adequately supported through that experience. Our brains then, if that's happened for us, become hypervigilant to future threat. But it can happen to any of us. And the question to ask here is, first thing, what's the worst thing that can happen if I accept this opportunity and it doesn't work out? And quite often, the worst that can happen is whatever's already happening for you, the thing we're trying to resolve. And the second question is, what past experience is driving me to react this way? What am I remembering? And is that really relevant or not? If I was making a conscious decision, knowing that I'm choosing based on that, what would my conscious decision now be? So, just be clear where your decision is coming from and seek more information such as reviews. That's how we do it now, isn't it? Recommendations. Did it work for someone else? Choose a little counterpoint, offer yourself a different view. Reason number three, "I don't dare hope for something better." So this is quite common as well. If an offer's outside of our experience, naturally it's going to be hard for our brain to endorse. I read recently a very long review of Ayahuasca by Gabor Maté. He's a very trusted source to me. Ayahuasca is a plant based psychedelic employed by South American healers as a transformation tool aid. And just like Gabor Maté, even in the face of others experiencing breakthroughs, my brain reaction was, "It wouldn't work for me." Interestingly, Gabor's belief that it wouldn't work for him prevented it working for him for a really long time, but eventually he did receive. In case you're wondering, I've yet to try it. Probably never will. Anyway, our brains will not want to believe that the better thing on offer is really available. And we want our brains to be right about everything. We trust that they are right about everything. Our thoughts are just words, and quite often, they're words we learn from other people and just absorbed. They don't actually represent the truth for us. So, if we make our world with our thoughts, then believing our thoughts is really tempting, but still, they're not facts. So it's worth asking yourself, "What am I not seeing or understanding about this? What am I not willing to consider? What's outside my experience that I could think about? And also, what do other people think?" Why, as well? This is a good question. Why do I think that life can't be better than my life is at the moment? Better than my experience has been until now? What limiting belief do I hold about what's possible for me? If I see other people succeeding with this, what do I tell myself about why I can't? Because you've probably got a set of underlying beliefs that's driving the decision, and it's good to unearth them and really see what they are. Reason number four, "I won't take a wonderful offer, it's too much effort." Self explanatory. "I might not be up for the work of change," and you might be able to hear yourself telling yourself, "But I don't have time." That's the common way of getting out of that one. If you've got that one, if you've got the too much effort thing going on, it's usually, "But I don't have time." And this style of thinking can be linked in with both fear of success and fear of failure. But that's kind of the topic for another episode. Reason number five, "I don't want to look stupid." Big one for us men. We don't want to look stupid if we get this wrong. However, what if you get it right? What if you're bolder than others and go for it and make something of it? What about being a pioneer? For all the decision fails you've made in your life, how many of them actually were, just let's say, spuriously optimistic? Like those shares you got a tip on or that dead cert in a horse race or that portion of a yacht you bought or the shoesyou once thought were really cool or that last whiskey at 2:
00 AM right before you swung an air punch and fell over? One of my friends who's actually a very highly respected surgeon dropped his Triumph motorbike in the car park in a late night attempt at going for a spin. I don't know why that came to mind. He could have found one of my own examples, probably. Anyhow, I thinkhere's the question:
Are you going to let not looking stupid define your future? What else does that thought stop you achieving? Who exactly do you fear is judging you? Could it just be you?And are you willing to ask the deeper question:
Will choosing this thing bring me closer to the authentic me? Reason number six, here's a good one, "I don't deserve it." Finally, deep down, perhaps the biggest driver of not being able to accept a better life even when it's offered to us. I think actually this one used to apply to me in burnout. I didn't feel worthy, specifically in my last two jobs working in technology and finance startups. And no wonder I ended up breaking myself in half to please other people at work. I couldn't please myself. No wonder I judged myself so harshly as to end up in burnout, dispirited and broken, feeling useless, thinking that that was all I was good for. And when I look back at it now, it really breaks my heart how mean I was to myself, how unnecessarily mean in that period. And I literally did break my own heart because I had a heart attack from chronic stress. So if you're listening right now feeling unworthy or undeserving and being harsh on yourself, rather ask yourself, who am I not to have a better me? How does it serve anyone for me to stay as I am in this kind of prison of my own making? Because if we feel unworthy, we will treat ourselves as unworthy. We'll put our own needs as last. I think a lot of women might be able to relate to that one. Our work is to develop unconditional love for ourselves, deep compassion, care, attentiveness to our own needs. If you're currently suppressing your own needs in order to do good in the world, and air quotes, become worthy, and now you're exhausted and burned out, imagine how much more good you could do in the world if you felt well and if you were taking care of yourself at a high level.I have to return here to Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we're inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It's our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You're a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We're all meant to shine as children do. We're born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us. It's in everyone. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." I don't think you can say fairer than that, so go to it. Be analytical, have your bias, feel your emotions, notice your resistance, but also don't unquestioningly believe your brain. At the end of the day, if you want what's on offer, hiding from life is not going to win out for you. You've got to jump. AndI'll close with Stephen Hawking:
"The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities." Thank you so much for listening today. Love being here with you, and I offer you my unconditional love and support, whoever or wherever you are. And if you are in burnout, listen for 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. Decide and let me know. 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.