Burnout Recovery

S019 Duncan So - helping workplaces recover from burnout

May 23, 2023 Dex Randall, Duncan So
Burnout Recovery
S019 Duncan So - helping workplaces recover from burnout
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode I chew the fat on burnout recovery with renowned expert Duncan So. We share the view that burnout is a wake-up call - the body's catalyst to a magical transition into your next level of power and success.

Duncan is an engineer turned burnout recovery expert.  He reveals profound insights into burnout at a societal, organisational and personal level.

Duncan delivers clinical burnout retreat experiences to leaders and is based in Toronto, Canada. He is also a Master Practitioner of  NLP, MER, and Clinical Hypnotherapy and works with psychedelics in burnout recovery.

Duncan is a committed change maker and social entrepreneur and very involved in how HR teams can navigate the burnout epidemic. See Duncan's free HR playbook below.

Show Notes:

HR burnout recovery playbook: https://www.burnoutrecoverychallenge.com/webinar-digest2023

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0:00:09.4 Dex: 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.

0:00:19.1 Dex: Hello, my friends. This is Dex, and today on the podcast, I'm very delighted to welcome our special guest, Duncan So, who is a workplace wellbeing and burnout recovery expert. And what he does is he delivers clinical burnout retreat experiences to help workplace leaders recover from burnout and empower their careers, a little bit on the same page as me. He's a social entrepreneur and change agent on a mission to empower the way we work, grow, and live. And he's an engineering grad and master practitioner of NLP/MER and clinical hypnotherapy. That's a quick round-up. You can visit his resources later in the show notes to find out some more. But anyway, hi, Duncan. Welcome. How are you doing today?

0:01:10.9 Duncan: Very good, Dex. Thank you for having me. I know we're a part of this growing and bustling burnout recovery community or burnout community. And I'm super excited to, yeah, perhaps share different perspectives with your audience. I'm sure your audience is looking for all these different ways to tackle this growing problem.

0:01:30.6 Dex: Yeah, and I'm so glad that we're on the same side and part of the solution. To be honest, I'm so passionate about burnout recovery, and I feel that in your work as well. And for you people who are listening, I actually came across Duncan via a woman called Cait Donovan, who's also a very eminent burnout expert. And so I've been... I started off stalking Duncan a little bit on LinkedIn actually, and chatting a little bit. But I feel we share in this very humanist approach to burnout recovery. He's also big on HR, which I think is quite interesting. We'll probably talk about it, and I like to bring other experts onto the podcast for you to listen to because I think the breadth of exploration of burnout and the recovery possible is very helpful to see because it's such a big and diverse world. But let's begin here. I'm gonna start today with a very serious topic, Duncan. I hear you're playing with psychedelics.

0:02:36.4 Dex: I read up on it. You sent me a note about this, and there's something called 5-MeO-DMT. I know it comes from toads and actually in Australia, we have an introduced species, the cane toad. I think it might have even come from America. People lick or smoke this toad skin to get the venom off it for this psychedelic high. So a little bit concerned about what your family think about this, but anyway, please, I'm very fascinated to explore how you're using it or what it means for you.

0:03:08.3 Duncan: So definitely on the experimental side of things, I mean, a quick background for those listeners, is I'm on the clinical side, so yes, I do systems change work. But at the same time, when it comes to recovery, I take a very clinical approach to things because back in the day, I think, Dex, we both kinda share a similar story. I was an IT, I was an engineer, and when I had what we call burnout, burnout wasn't even a thing back then. And I sort of like checked off all the boxes. I thought I was having a quarter-life crisis. And so back then, it was like eat, pray, love, right? Was sort of the go-to prescription to figure yourself out. And as an engineer, that didn't work. So I sort of pivoted and spent another 10 years to really deep dive into the field of human flourishing.

0:03:55.0 Duncan: And for myself, I'm a huge, just go change the world. And I had done really cool things from up-building a school in Ghana, working in the United Nations, and working on cryptocurrency projects to alleviate poverty. And I went full circle. It was kind of interesting because when I went into the world of systems change leadership and humanitarian work, I never even considered looking back. I recovered from burnout myself and I studied a lot of this type of work. And it was really until... I don't know how this links to psychedelics very shortly. It was really until when I was in... I had a school that was supporting young systems change leaders. So these are the same young folks in Ghana whose old brother and sister are going into the education system and four children are left to figure out how to impact their communities.

0:04:43.4 Duncan: And very similar to some of the narratives we hear today is a lot of people who wanna change the world or make an impact or so forth, come in and they're not as stressed to the max, but they come in with a lot of trauma. And so it was very interesting when I was running the school and we were taught about the future of education for rural communities by the British Council and the UN. And I was having this concern where we can teach all these amazing tools around empowerment, but if you wanna change the world and not just be an entrepreneur, which is already stressful as a psychological tool, if you wanna add social impact to it, it's gonna be near impossible if you're coming in with anger and resentments and hate and all those different things. Obviously, they come in with stories of being abused or whatever it is.

0:05:29.1 Duncan: And so it started me back on the path of, okay, we have to clear the deep-rooted issues, the trauma, the emotional baggage, the beliefs that lead to compulsive behaviours that drain our energy. And so I started to apply my clinical knowledge. I was actually doing it for myself, to be honest. And then I had a crossroads where I had to figure out how can we create a world or move forward with a world with all this new technology to empower people and help them thrive and so forth if we can't even stop the bleed, right? And so that was in sort of 2018, '19 when the Gallup poll came up with all of this new research around burnout. Coming from an organization, a global organization that looked at engagement in the workplace suddenly changed their tune to burnout. And it became a big problem. And for someone like myself, who's also an engineer, when I had a chance to cross paths with the World Economic Forum, and whether or not people have their views on what they mean, my big question to them was, with all this new technology coming down the pike, what will we do with our mental emotional health because technology, in theory, is neutral?

0:06:41.8 Duncan: It's what comes behind that technology that drives change or impact or economic rewards or so forth. And based on our current leadership, we will probably go into the next human mass extinction. We call it singularity event, right? Which we see today with general AI and so forth. And it's like we gotta take care of our mental emotional wellbeing, not from a preventative perspective. That's great. I think that's amazing. But we gotta stop the bleed. And so that led me on sort of that journey of, yes, the practice I use can clear a lot of the... Or help you self-regulate very quickly. But we're left with the big void where it's like, imagine I went through a mental-emotional detox. What do I do next?

0:07:25.8 Duncan: What does thriving actually mean if I lived my entire life surviving? I lived my entire world surviving as a child through probably an unhealthy family relationship. Or even if I did that, I survived through school, industrialized my way out, went through being a high achiever into the workforce and still feel empty inside. What's going on and burnout that way. And so 5-MeO or psychedelics sort of fell into my lap by accident. And the reason why I was looking at that was there was a... I wanted to create not just a transformational experience because mental emotional issues are processes I used, does a lot of the heavier lifting for that. And what I found out was a gap for a lot of people going through my program was they didn't really understand what was next.

0:08:13.5 Duncan: And I was like, "Well, I can't really describe thriving to you, I can't describe things you haven't experienced before, and I don't wanna intellectualize that." And like an engineer being myself, I didn't believe in the eat, pray, love type of stuff. I wasn't even very spiritual in nature when I was going through burnout. But I wanted to really create a transcendental experience for someone to have an undeniable experience down to the nervous system of what it means to be your highest self or greater than yourself and interconnected with everything else on this planet to really move forward with a new blueprint, right? So you've cleared your stuff. How do you have a new blueprint? You start filling in what it really means to be you. And for those who aren't familiar with 5-MeO, the good news is it used to come from the poison of a toad.

0:09:00.6 Duncan: You're right. It's thanks to modern-day chemistry. Chemists can synthesize that now as a new chemical. And we do it in Mexico and it's supervised by a medical team, but it is... For a lot of countries, it is a banned substance, right? Even in Canada, we finally legalised marijuana not too long ago. And while I'm not a huge supporter of perhaps leaning on these substances for personal growth, it can be a really interesting baseline, right? Like, do it once. It's not... It's one of those things where it's not addictive. And what's fascinating about 5-MeO and where I learned 5-MeO was actually through Mike Tyson of all people. It was Mike Tyson. Again, super successful, went through ups and downs and had some drug and alcoholism problems going through sort of his career.

0:09:51.4 Duncan: And he was introduced to 5-MeO-DMT and he said, "Once I did it, all of the addictions just disappeared overnight." And I was like, "What kind of magic sauce is this? What's the science behind this?" And so as an engineer, as an applied scientist, it's like, well, before I... There's stuff to study this. Well, let's experiment with this to see if this is actually applicable. And so I had a chance to experience it for my first time and I'm completely agnostic. I don't have a religious background. I'm spiritual in nature I guess. I learn or reconnect to my spirituality, but definitely know I'm agnostic or an atheist, you might call it that way. And 5-MeO-DMT is interesting compared to the other psychedelics because, in a very short amount of time, you move to what a lot of Eastern philosophers or a lot of Eastern practices call the state of samadhi or the state of bliss or connectedness or God or source.

0:10:51.0 Duncan: And somebody that's like very engineering, that's very about written literature and studies and all those things, I'm like, now I've read about things, I've read about religions that talk about faith, which is great. It's all belief. And we're all both in a mindset, but until you really experience it, it's like how do you just blindly go through it? And 5-MeO is one of those experiences that yes, it's now going into clinical study for its benefits for things like depression and so forth. But really the heavy lifting is once you experience source, get God, whatever you wanna call it, that type of experience and you come back and you lived it, then that's the baseline. That's what I call the difference between who we are at the highest level and how do we wanna move forward with our life now knowing that people who come through my program have gone through not just the recovery, but the deep clearing of all of the trauma and baggage that once locked them, disempowered them. Now you're completely free. You're liberated. What would you do instead? And that's sort of the thesis that I have going on this year, is using a substance like that to really facilitate the integration therapy of what it means to move forward with empowered and thriving life.

0:12:13.7 Dex: I like it. That was a big answer. When you were talking, I found that we got even more things in common than I had previously realized. Maybe a lot of our family history, certainly the engineering. I was a mathematician and an aircraft engineering apprentice before I got into IT. And I think every problem for me is an engineering problem. It's almost a mechanical problem. I'm looking for what are the dynamics of this situation. So it's very interesting. I'm glad I asked you that question 'cause you came up with a lot of interesting perspectives there. And so I'm just... When you... What I'd like to know now is when you're working in that mode, you say you're working in Mexico, so that's an in-person group kind of experience, is it?

0:12:55.7 Duncan: Yeah, so it was interesting because... And then the reason why I'll share the idea of the retreat experience was in 2018, '19. So a big proponent of my work on the systems change side is what we call the future of work, right? So it's looking at, now yes, the World Health Organization kind of pins burnout with occupational phenomenon, like it's a workplace issue. We know this going out of the pandemic, clients coming into our office, like us going through our coaching recovery. We know it's a blend. It's a very personalized challenge. But nevertheless, in terms of where literature is today and where we're moving on a system side, it's like it starts at the workplace. And in 2018, when I started to speak with a lot of CHROs or VPs of people and HR and asked them about, "How are you dealing with burnout?" And they're like, "What's burnout? And let's just start with mental health and mental illness and mental health first aid." Like sort of that was the direction they were going in general in 2018, '19. And their first low-hanging fruit was, "Well if we were to give some advice from an HR perspective, and even a low liability advice for managers to share with employees would be just take a vacation."

0:14:07.8 Duncan: And the reason why, it's a funny thing. Of course, everyone's coming back now. We need a vacation from a vacation. Does that really work? But as the systems change leader, we always ask these questions because we want to... We wanna move through the path of least resistance for change. And one of the biggest challenges when it comes to not just burnout, but on a broader lens of mental health as a whole, is there is a stigma because we haven't grown up in a... We're not in an environment where we grow up in systems where we talk about mental health and wellbeing and how that leads to performance. I definitely didn't go through that as a young child growing up going through the education system, and definitely not my parents immigrating here to Canada.

0:14:49.9 Duncan: And so the idea of mental health and outside of mental illness, but mental health and performance and wellbeing and all those things is actually a relatively new concept from a very forced world perspective. And so when they said vacations, I was like, good, because one of the things that I had to... And I wanted the word bypass per se, but it was like they asked me, "Duncan, what's your formula for systems change when it comes to burnout?" And 2021 too was a challenge because one of our colleagues in this space in burnout, her name is Jennifer Moss, and she's from Kitchener, Waterloo just a little bit out of Toronto. And she is a columnist and a burnout specialist as well. And started writing in the Harvard Business Review and really pushed forward burnout in this space.

0:15:39.2 Duncan: And what friction that cause from a systems change perspective is it starts to pin the problems of burnout as a systems issue. It's not an individual issue. It's a workplace issue. Now, while that's true and the challenge is there's a workplace issue and there's an individual issue. When I feel burnout, it's me. The idea that it is completely a workplace issue, that I can just move to another country or another workplace, and suddenly my burnout just disappears, it's unheard of. It's because it's all the stuff inside that we're gonna deal with, but the environment that causes it, I call it the canary and the coal mine, is we want... Because we're humans, we wanna take care of the canary, and we wanna take care of the coal mine, so the canary dying is not an option in this case.

0:16:30.3 Duncan: And so my approach to it was we have to take care of the individual issues first. So saying ignore the workplace issue is the reason why we take care of the issue at the individual level first because once they learn how easy it is to recover and what recovery actually means, they become the change agents for the organization. And so when organizations come to me to say, "Duncan, is this a top-down approach?" That's a very work-oriented industrial thinking perspective or "Is it a bottom-up issue?" Very social change issue. So having my school as a non-profit, that is true as well, but I said, it's different. It's not top-down or bottom-up in this case. It's a very change-from-within approach, because everybody, whether you're an executive or you're a call centre rep or an executive salesperson, or wherever you are, customers, we're all going through burnout in our own ways because at a macro level, we have a technology that drives it, we have a culture that reinforces it, and we had a pandemic that amplified it.

0:17:38.4 Duncan: So if you think macro, right, it's something that's gonna affect everybody like a blanket. And for your listeners, I don't know, but in Canada, in my province specifically, we operate on a public healthcare system. And so in the states where a lot of my clients are, they're more private, so they're used to it. They would pay for their recovery. But when you go to a system like in Canada where it's public, we can't address that. If you wanna see a psychologist or psychiatrist, I think today is still like a four-month waiting list just for that to happen. And that's just the medical system, let alone like hookers like us where we're like, "Let's figure this piece out."

0:18:20.0 Duncan: And so the problems have been growing faster than the solutions that can support it. And the approach that I said was, Let's do these vacations because that breaks the stigma. Have them recover quickly. They'll learn the skills, they'll go back. People will ask and will say, "What happened? You went from burnout to alive, and I can see your soul in your eyes again." And they can say, "It was an amazing vacation stigma-free." And then the difference is now they can be able to have the awareness and sensitivity, the empathy when they work with colleagues to be like, "I think you're going through something that I went through. And by the way, instead of the elephant in the room, it's actually really easy to take care of. These are the resources I went through." And in the next hopefully three years, five years, 10 years, 15 years, stigma goes to zero. And then everybody can treat burnout just like going for a check-up. So that's sort of ideally where I hope the world will go to and the workplace will shift to, and then lean into again, how we raise our kids, how we raise our families, how we support our mental health and relationships and all the different areas of our life.

0:19:38.0 Dex: Wow. Yeah. All of that. 'Cause I'm the same. Going on holiday isn't going to fix your burnout unless you take other steps alongside of it. But I do have a number of clients who are on sabbatical from work or have been laid off from work or stood down for some reason. And during that period of time, we do the burnout recovery work, and they go back on fire. And I think the same as you that some of the organizational change comes from within the person who has recovered because they tend to be in leadership positions. They can propagate the goodness throughout the organization. They can be the connective tissue if you like as well. So I think perhaps we have... When I'm listening to your solution and the way you work, it seems to be incongruent with the principles I believe in and the way that I work. We just do it slightly differently. But I feel very encouraged to think about that. And when you were saying vacations, I didn't realise you were talking about vacation as a kind of cover-up for the retreat you're taking people on. So how long are your retreats? How long do you work with people at a retreat?

0:20:42.5 Duncan: Yeah. So generally, I call it a seven-day all-inclusive. So we work with partners who do this piece. And again, as for North American view, I don't know if it's the same over there in Australia and on the Pacific side, but generally vacations, especially these types of resort vacations are seven-day all-inclusive, right? That's what we call it. And so it's a very standard, standard vacation type of thing. But the treatment that I do is only two days. The interventions I do is only two days of those seven days. And so what makes it really powerful is, two of those days, not just do they go through the clearing work, but the environment supports it. And so in my work, I also re-associate then all of the resources available there back into their nervous system so when they go home, they don't get sucked into the conditioning. It's not that easy. At least, they're aware of it, they're aware of it. If they choose to make that decision, again that's a different story, but they come back with a whole set of different resources. And I found that was a lot more effective in these environments than, let's just, say Zoom.

0:21:41.4 Duncan: So I had to do that during the lockdown. There was no choice. And even doing it in a very clinical setting, like let's have a sterile room and let's do your typical therapy style was far and beyond. When you go to an environment that supports that, it just becomes life-changing. So I mean obviously, the therapy is life-changing, but the relationship to the experience and the memory of it just becomes so much more immersive and broader. And so it's a seven-day all-inclusive, two days for intervention. This year we're doing a little bit different. We're doing two days online and then seven days as a group, and then bringing in a group of facilitators that's going to do some sort of transcendental experience, whether it's through a psychedelic and/or through a deep level of meditation that we can offer as well for that piece. And so different ways we're approaching this. And that's more on the experimental side, but more on the clinical-proven side, I bring in a lot of the NLP and mind-body type of psychosomatic practices to really start working at the nervous system level to clear those energy drainers.

0:22:55.0 Dex: Yeah, that's interesting. I work on that side myself. I'm trained in some mind-body therapies, and I think the nervous system is the core of it because that's the reactive part where we have an experience of something and go off... Take the wrong track and interpret it the wrong way and we don't make the best use of life's experiences because we're unable to because our nervous system is on fire. So I tend to do that work as well. So if you're doing two days online and seven days in person, does that mean you... That's not a psychedelic. That's NLP, is it?

0:23:27.8 Duncan: Yeah. So the two days are NLP or more specifically MER for the release work. And so I used to do that on the resort. And what I'll do is literally line up back-to-back-to-back-to-back for a whole month and start working out from that way. And what I found getting feedback from my clients was, hey... Again, one of the biggest challenges was, "After this is done, I feel alone. Like I kinda feel alone. And while it's great to have you kind of as a coach or I refer out to a coach, I have to sort of move on to the growth pieces." It's like, "But they haven't been with me into the gutter. How can I now have a new baseline?" And so this year is gonna be sort of a... Sometimes the entrepreneurship side, we call it mastermind experience, but really from an HR perspective, we're gonna call this like a round-table or some sort of group affinity we're creating. And what this creates is... And in the US, they just launched their new report on...

0:24:24.9 Duncan: The US surgeon general just launched a new report on loneliness as the number one issue for mental health in the states, and burnout has a relationship. I know you have an episode on loneliness and burnout in one of your episodes. And so we know that those, especially in leadership positions, burnout can be a very lonely place. We ignore it, we suppress it, and once we clear it, it's still a lonely place. And the journey to thrive after that can also be a lonely place because it's not like immediately the seven people around you are somehow more conscious than you were before. They're probably in the same mess that locked you in those conditions, to begin with. And so what's really powerful about this experience is all the clients every year sort of create these cohorts.

0:25:08.9 Duncan: They go through this breakthrough experience, and they come together and share their stories stigma-free, with no charges. All of it is cleared out. And then they can share their dreams of where they're going. And because they're all sort of in the same executive pool, they're like, "Hey, I'm trying to do this. I'm trying to 10X my company. Or here I'm doing this. I'm trying to build up my new culture. Or here I'm doing this. We're solving this big problem and so forth." And What I'm expecting to see through this is that they're gonna have themselves on speed dial for free. That's there, they're going forward, they're on a WhatsApp group or whatever it is, and hopefully, they'll become lifelong friends connected on a unified experience all the way from pain, all the way to transcendence. And so that's sort of what I expect to see coming out of this new iteration of the program.

0:26:02.1 Duncan: Oh, that's really fascinating. I'm loving hearing about this. And I think as well you mentioned this loneliness being a part of burnout, and I think some of the difficulties that we experience that predispose us to burnout also predispose us to loneliness. So the two do tend to go hand in hand, and perhaps, that's... A lot of people get into IT because they... Well, arguably, because they're a bit of a loner, they're very good at problem-solving, they're very clever, but they kind of work autonomously. In engineering, a little bit the same sometimes in some professions, what I see is burnout being prevalent. And I think... Excuse me, for me, this loneliness is one of the things that we can deal with so successfully in burnout recovery where people feel much more comfortable around other people, much more connected in a positive way, and then they can take it or leave it. If they wanna be by themselves, they can, but they don't have to be. What's your perspective on that?

0:27:00.7 Duncan: Yeah. And I think a very interesting perspective as well, and I don't know if you share this in your own practice, is some people do come to me and say, "Duncan, I'm very lonely." Not from I'm a lone wolf type style, are they literally... Again, telephones, emails, hijack, dopamine hijack, right? And so like the social connection piece, right? The isolation piece, that chemical is oxytocin, right? And that makes us feel connected and feel good and so forth. And from a technology alone, we're already in a deficit of that piece. And again, the technology alone already sort of creates what we call transhumanism where we live so superficially behind, like right behind a screen, and we get all these things like ghosting and all these weird behaviours like collective social behaviours today. But one of the things that I've also noticed going through this process, and I don't know if you feel the same, is there's a difference between loneliness and solitude. And for a lot of, I feel the modern day, and I even say to Gen Z especially, and my heart goes out to them, is their entire generation is a dopamine hit.

0:28:06.7 Duncan: Like, there is no counterbalance. At least I had a point in my life where I still rode a bicycle in my community and had no internet, right? The next generation is their entire life is just the internet and dopamine addiction and rampant ADHD that's just hijacked our higher thinking. And so the reality is they can't sit still. We can't sit still, right? And that stillness, that solitude, it's not just about learning about solitude, but it's like, well, that solitude connects to something deep inside, the rapport that we have with ourselves and why I think both of us speaking as like engineers, is we're so stuck in our left brain. Forget the left, right brain connection. Let's be more T thinking, is that once we just say we have that because of the modern-day design thinking agile approach methodologies is we don't connect with the heart at all, right?

0:29:02.1 Duncan: And so that creates what we call incoherence, right? And the institute of HeartMath has an amazing phenomenal body of work that creates coherence. And so we can't even sit with ourselves and have a relationship with ourselves anymore. And so I can't even imagine or bare the burden of being lonely, not because of lack of social connection, but lonely because we don't even have a relationship with ourselves. And I think that is very devastating, especially for those who eventually go through like myself like an identity or an existential crisis from the perspective of burnout.

0:29:42.8 Dex: Yeah, I think it's a societal-level tragedy because I think of solitude as being comfortable being alone with yourself. It's almost a spiritual presence and connection with the self. Whereas loneliness is I can't find enough connection, but burnout itself is an experience of disconnection. Disconnection is, I think, what causes burnout and hence its rise in prevalence, but also disconnection for me from ourselves and from other people at a societal level is what's giving rise to so many of these mental health challenges that both the young and old are facing these days. The difference between now and 20 or 30 years ago for me is extremely low because that's more or less coinciding with when we all flogged onto the internet mid-'90s really, was it? That started to come up. And so I think of burnout recovery as being a reconnection process.

0:30:38.8 Duncan: And to echo that, this is for the audience as well if it hasn't been said in a different way, is burnout is a good thing. Some people are like, "Duncan, you're nuts. Like, why would you say that? It's fatigue, exhaustion, you're going through like panic attacks. Like why would you say burnout is a good thing?" And sometimes I say, if we wanna go to the next level, you can either go up very slowly and you're really going against an uphill climb, especially when you're burning out. And sometimes the fastest way to salvation is down, right? And so what I find for people who have actually successfully gone through burnout, is a phoenix from the ashes, a story. If you ask anybody that's successfully gone through burnout and has not reminisced about burnout, are their values or life changes that are very deep level, they're connected? Anybody that says, I've gone through burnout and burnout again, it's a lie. Meaning they haven't gone through that transformation. And for anybody that's listening to this and who's experiencing burnout, that can be a blessing.

0:31:40.0 Duncan: Meaning as especially when you have like decks at yourself, and people in this community who know what they're doing in this space will help you sort of facilitate yourself to transform to that deeper you, right? That beingness, that authentic you that so many people are craving for today, especially in the future of work, this generation that... A generation is craving for meaning and purpose, right? Starving for it. And HR scratching their heads. Like that sounds esoteric. How the heck do we even create that? And arguably burnout is a path. It's not the most fun path. But if you ask anybody who's gone through the other side of burnout and there's... And their life changed, they would say, "I wouldn't change anything because, without burnout, I wouldn't have gone to where I am today." And so I don't know if either your own experience echoes that or your clients echo that, but it is a very transformational process.

0:32:38.0 Dex: Yeah. Again, I would agree. Burnout is the catalyst for a huge transformation to a much richer, more connected, deeper, more rewarding and fulfilling experience of life. But the catalyst is often not the most fun part just like anything. I mean, you and I are in sort of mind-body energy work, and I think that recognises the body's innate wish to heal. Everything gives you... All the emotions that are difficult for you, all the situations that are difficult are actually catalysts for healing because the body is always... And the mind is always oriented towards healing.

0:33:16.4 Dex: And the trigger is always gonna be uncomfortable because it has to be the impetus for change and you won't change without discomfort. So I would agree that although burnout is not fun and having a heart attack wasn't fun either, I immediately recognized for me that that was my body trying to tell me to change, that it was very, very urgent that I change and I took it like that. And I think with burnout, it's always that. What burnout is telling you is you have a much deeper, more wonderful capacity than you're currently using because in burnout, we're very, very contracted. We are just a small percentage of our potential being used and reconnecting with our humanity kind of explores... Gently opens all of those capacities and potentialities back out again so that we can live them and enjoy them. This is where we come into the deep connection and deep joy of being our whole selves.

0:34:13.0 Duncan: Beautiful.

0:34:14.5 Dex: And on that note, my friend, we have run out of time. I could really talk to you for hours. I'm so glad you came on to speak with our listeners today. I've got two more things for you. One is please tell us... I know you've got some free videos and stuff that you can share with us. I'll put those in the show notes. Do you need to tell people a little bit about that?

0:34:36.2 Duncan: Yeah. So if anybody in the audience is an HR leader... I'm sorry, I'm very systems change-oriented as well, is there's a freebie there for HR leaders that has roughly a... I think it's 104 or 105-page playbook. So it takes a little bit of some clinical processes around what it takes to recover specifically and it's wrapped around an employee experience. So that's thanks to the community of HR leaders out there that helped me with that piece. And so there is no excuse. If you're an HR leader or a people leader or someone that's influencing the system of work, and the stress behind it or the chronic stress behind it, there is no excuse that there is no time, no money, no resources for you to implement it.

0:35:19.9 Duncan: It's completely free. And I offer a... Every other week, so twice a month, I do a community support group on LinkedIn, for that piece. I literally just did it today just before this recording with that group. So that resource is there for HR leaders. For individuals, you can always check out my newsletter, transcendthehustle.com. You can sign up for that. And every... In between, I give... Every other week as well, I give tips, like more detailed tips around what we can do for recovery, and if you're more of a passive observer, you can always follow me and hit the bell on my LinkedIn. I post quite regularly on everything burnout, from recovery, and prevention, all the way across the spectrum.

0:36:04.4 Duncan: All of those resources are excellent. I would really highly recommend people to check them out. Thank you so much, Duncan, for coming to the show today.

0:36:13.0 Duncan: Alright. Thank you for having me.

0:36:15.3 Dex: And listeners, if you've enjoyed today's show, I'd love you to rate and review the podcast because it's how we reach out to help more people who suffer from burnout. And if you yourself 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 at work. If you are 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.

Discussion of Psychedelics
Importance of Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
The Importance of Thriving
Psychedelics and Five M E O
Burnout as a Systems Issue
Taking care of the individual issue first
Impact of technology on mental health
Length and format of burnout recovery retreats
Loneliness as a Mental Health Issue
The Power of Cohorts in Burnout Recovery
Burnout as a Path to Transformation
The Catalyst for Healing
Free Resources for HR Leaders
Recovering from Burnout