You may have discovered that from the dark trenches of burnout, a new work role often looks very seductive. However, all is not as it seems.
If you are exhausted and frustrated to the extent of burnout, I always recommend you put on the coaching life-vest first, rather than bale out for a new position. Otherwise, the cynicism and frustration that have become so habitual run the risk of being portable, straight into the next job.
Once my clients recover from burnout, though, they are beautifully positioned to re-assess their career options from a place of energy, enthusiasm and optimism. Better choices become available at that point. Does that sound good?
I do encourage a deep re-evaluation of priorities, desires and values, so the decision about what to do next comes from a completely new perspective and old patterns are not repeated. This episode talks about how achieve that for yourself.
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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.
0:00:23.1 Dex: Hello my friends, this is Dex. Welcome to the podcast for this week's episode on looking for work that floats your boat again. Finding success, enjoyment, reward and growth, essentially getting your mojo back, and really making the best possible use of that once you have it by making really high-quality decisions about what you do next, whether that's a new job, a new role, a promotion, a career change, a new business venture, or perhaps it's even semi-retirement or retirement. Because that's really where so many men are at when they come to me in burnout, looking for an escape hatch, something to do for a living that's definitely not as excruciatingly painful as what they're doing now, so they can free themselves up basically from the burdens of stress, anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, demoralisation, particularly cynicism, and of course, the externals: Bad management, a closed system, poor organizational structure, lack of support, too much red tape, and usually all of that reduced potential for success. So, whatever the external factors of burnout happen to be, all of those, and also just this general disillusionment and flame-out about the whole caper.
0:01:44.0 Dex: And what we're gonna explore today is how to find or approach or create a role that's gonna light you back up after burnout, stimulate your career and income growth, and make you a happy bunny. But of course, that's not what you think when you're in burnout. The way that that happens is different than you might expect. And naturally, I do appreciate all the circumstantial aspects of your disenchantment at work, but my proposition to you is this: You can love your work again. Period. I've seen it over and over in my clients, but it's frequently not required that you leave your job to find that. And let me explain, or rather, actually, let's just check in first on your experience.
0:02:33.6 Dex: So ask yourself these questions: How chronic is your cynicism at work? How long has it been going on for you? And how deep is your treasury of stories and evidence that your job sucks? Because therein really lies your greatest problem that you're gonna need to fix, whether or not you seek alternative work. If you're not satisfied with your role, ask yourself: Do any of these following apply? I've hated my job for years, and I'm entrenched in my misery. Okay, that's nearly all of us in burnout. [chuckle] I can't see how to escape the pain or make it better. The role got further and further away from my specialist area. I haven't felt passion at work in a really long time. There are too many meetings, too many rules, too much red tape. Other people aren't doing their jobs, and that frustrates me. I'm drowning in useless communication, too many cooks, and a full inbox. My boss is a jerk and doesn't support me. Nobody's making the decisions that need to be made. The system's over-regulated, making it harder to meet targets and earn well. In fact, targets keep on growing, and I'm falling behind. They keep changing the rules and my job on me. I'm not the top dog right now, and I really should be. Younger people seem to be having a better time of it. I'm not getting promoted, or for business owners, I'm not earning as much as I used to.
0:04:15.0 Dex: If you've had any or perhaps even all of those running through your mind all the time when you're at work, then how on earth could your workday be enjoyable? I'm gonna use an example here 'cause I watched the State of Origin this week, which is the annual rugby series between New South Wales and Queensland, and it's been running in one form or another since 1908. It's a really deep grudge match between the two states, and they just wheel out all the old gladiators of rugby to smash the stuffing outta one another, really. And ironically, I was watching it and this year, the player who impressed me the most was one Reuben Cotter. At age 24, he was a really little more than a rookie. He's very perky. I mean, he gets the ball, he just lifts his head up to run and his eyes are sparkling with excitement.
0:05:08.2 Dex: He's not just taking the opportunities that are available; he's making them. He's terrific at picking his way past players who look a lot heavier and more seasoned than he is. He plays with this kind of flare like the games are a sea of adventures that he wants to surf. And okay, he's young, and many people in burnout are in a different phase of life. I'm really gonna guess that he hasn't taken as many knocks as you as well. Okay? But imagine, if he woke up in the morning ruminating on all the things that you do, how would he show up for matches then?
0:05:46.2 Dex: Burnout really for my money is a sense of chronic defeat, frustration, disillusionment. We lose our invincibility, our brilliance, our genius, our flow. And then usually we kind of disengage, a little bit hurt, and we're running a little bit on autopilot. We're still getting through everything, but we're not fully there. Our mojo's left the building. And that's not you, if that's your experience or near to your experience, I felt in burnout, like I've been run over by a tank in the night, every night. Every day, I got up and it looked like a challenge I couldn't rise to. And dwelling on yesterday's evidence didn't help, either. I was really devastated because this was my work identity shattering right then. And I didn't have a plan B. I used to be the go-to guy. Now I was kind of just an escapologist, or sometimes a pariah, and I really couldn't see anything promising on the horizon. And I didn't know how to hold my head up when I was working that way. I wasn't surfing like I used to; I was drowning. Super humiliating. Just between you and me, don't tell anyone else.
0:07:02.5 Dex: But let's say you had Reuben Cotter's wild, untamed enthusiasm. Let's say your work was actually just a puzzle you could still solve, but in a slightly different way. What would getting up in the morning be like then? Because think about it. If you're chronically cynical now, and you move job or role, what will prevent you creating the same cynicism over there, given that we're creatures of habit? Generally speaking, the answer to that is nothing. It's a bit like, I think, of going on holiday when you're burnt out. It might have a kind of novelty value. You might be away from the people who chafe on you. It might be mildly pleasant and restful, and the problems are momentarily suspended. But they're still waiting for you when you go home.
0:07:54.8 Dex: So okay, all of that was really just to highlight three things that I personally see around burnout and burnout recovery. Number one: Of course, it's completely normal to feel shit in and burnout and be cynical, hopeless, shut down, less on top of things, dreading each day, exhausted, and deeply, immovably miserable. Completely normal. Temporary, but normal. Number two: Changing your job will not fix this, because you take yourself and your jaded attitude with you. And number three: Fixing all the jaded bits and frustrations is simply a step-by-step process that any professional can follow to affect the temperamental change required to get your mojo back, either in the job you're in now or in a new role that you choose to go to then.
0:08:53.0 Dex: So here's what happens really in burnout recovery: You do some very methodical house-cleaning to help you recover energy and enthusiasm and power. And this is the step-by-step process I referred to a second ago. You're going to deal with all the symptoms of burnout one by one, headliners first, such as anxiety, frustration, how to work effectively with people, taming your workload and overwhelm, bringing a bit more order to your day, restoring success, reducing procrastination, and of course, quieting your inner critic. And when we do all of this, your resilience and confidence will bounce back. At a point in the first couple of months, hopefulness will return. And then once we're sure you're out of burnout, in about 10 to 12 weeks, we can start thinking about what you want to do about your job.
0:09:47.8 Dex: But by that time, you're going to be making decisions optimistically from potential, knowing you're good for it, not from this defensive position of "What's the least worst thing I could do next?" So it's really an ideal moment to dig deep into exactly where your passions lie and how you can tap back into them. Maybe it's in your current role if you remould that a bit, or maybe it's in a new direction. You really won't know until you get to that point, because in burnout, you're too tired. You've probably forgotten who you even are. You've probably neglected yourself, your needs, and your desires, so badly that they've gone underground and need excavating. Of course, there's no judgment in that, right? It's just an observation. That's what we do. You blew yourself off as a last-ditch effort to save your job, probably. You're not mean or anything. But once you're through burnout, it's an excellent time to reinvigorate your dreams and desires and set your career up in a way that really works for you, kind of in the short-term and the longer-term. No more plodding along, trying to hold down the job you have or escape it. Your mojo is back. The force is with you.
0:11:04.9 Dex: So what I do with clients is I help them make a much more detailed map of their values, passion, dreams, likes, dislikes, motivators, and from that, we generate together some opportunity filters that show really what their intention and direction is. And we define the filters without necessarily defining what role would suit that at the beginning. It's really just a platform to get creative about what could or would work in an ideal role, in an ideal world, what role do they want, how do they want to contribute, who do they want to be, what do they want their legacy to be, and also things like work-life balance and all of that, lifestyle, family, income, goals, and whatever else is important to them.
0:12:04.3 Dex: So, we make this big list of opportunity filters, and they use the filter to say yes or no to pursue any opportunity that arises, whether it currently seems doable or not. But really where it helps the most is it helps them say no to opportunities that are not a good fit and aren't ever going to be a good fit for how they want their life to play out from here. So, it's a real kind of affirmative way of applying a filter to a job, not just doing a knee-jerk, "I'll take whatever comes my way that I think I can get," kind of the opposite of that. And it's all about articulating your value in the world, kind of inside work, but also as a human being. What attributes and passions do you have, where can you uplift the circumstances in whatever role you end up in? So, it's about articulating your values, working from your values, which is where the reward and fulfilment come from, and also standing for your values, standing firm for your values and who you are and what works for you and what alternatively won't work for you and has to be cut from your inquiries.
0:13:22.3 Dex: So, it's really a little bit like dating, it's about narrowing down your proposition of who you are and what you want, so you don't have to wade through a pile of unsuitable opportunities. You kind of have... You develop some definite criteria, and you know why you have them, why they make sense to you, so then you know who you'll say yes to, or what you'll say yes to or no to, and why. Make it clear also, in the process of that, what your offer is, and what you can bring to the table. "Here's things I've achieved in the past." "I'm looking for a new opportunity to produce a similar style of results," or "This is my promise to you. I promise I would give you this result in this opportunity." Show people where your value lies in a way that they can relate to whatever their opportunity may be. You'll know if you're a good fit for them and vice versa, and so will they.
0:14:27.2 Dex: And also, you're gonna know who your connections are that can introduce you to opportunities that will suit you, and you'll really establish what the precise conditions are necessary for you to be successful in a particular opportunity. So, really, when you clearly define your ideal role and the conditions for being successful in that role, you're just articulating what works for you and why, and what doesn't work for you and why. And when you do that, you're really defining what a best-fit role would be without defining the content or title or even industry or whatever of that role, and you're just... It's the conditions and the fit for you as a human because that's where your power comes from. But when you do define that best fit, you're gonna know it when you see it, and usually, the person you're talking to, your opposite party, is gonna know it, too.
0:15:26.4 Dex: You won't waste time on any opportunities that aren't a really good fit, and you'll be very well able to articulate what a best fit looks like for you when you're talking to people about creating opportunity. You're gonna draw to you and from yourself the best engagement, performance, and results, and eliminate a lot of adverse conditions that you know aren't gonna work for you. And you're gonna make, therefore, a very bold offer on a suitable opportunity about precisely what you can deliver and what conditions you need in order to be able to deliver that. And then really, whoever the listener is and the opportunity can really identify whether you can solve their problem or not. So you position yourself by doing this as a very high performer and a leader, somebody who knows who he is and what he can do.
0:16:21.5 Dex: And it doesn't mean you won't grow. If there are limitations on what you've achieved until now, it doesn't have to limit your potential, but you know how to articulate what that potential is and why you'll be a good fit for it. So you take yourself seriously. You come over as very confident, forthright, and direct. And you'll also know when opportunities are too woolly to make a decision and how to ask the questions or negotiate until the conditions become clear, so you can make a decision. And also, the quality of your decision-making will be much higher, because by this time, you'll have very improved confidence and clarity yourself, and you will understand the criteria. And also, what that does is it really empowers the other person to make better, clearer decisions and negotiate more precisely, too.
0:17:12.0 Dex: So all of this that you've done here is really narrowed the field, so then you become more magnetic to the fewer good matches, and you repel the vast majority of not-suitable ones. So you've got less work to do on them. It means you're gonna get higher-quality matches right from the get-go. And also, the opportunities are much more likely to be enjoyable and lucrative and productive for you. You're not gonna be at the mercy of other people, trying to bend yourself out of shape to suit their system. Not a good fit. Because ultimately, when we're looking for a new opportunity, it's what we say no to that defines us, not what we say yes to. Usually, our filters are not very tight, and we say yes to all kinds of opportunities, really not a great fit.
0:18:03.7 Dex: So, also, what you do is because you're so defined going in, if you accept an opportunity, you build a platform for addressing any ongoing concerns on arrival. If your expectations are not met in the role, you know how to negotiate on that. And in all of this, confidence comes from this clarity. You're gonna feel very centred and grounded in who you are and what you need. It's not a suck-it-and-see approach. It's about taking poor fit opportunities just because they're on your lap. It's not about going with the flow with people who aren't performing as well as they would like to be and think you're gonna rescue them. Confidence coming really here from knowing what you stand for and standing for it. And that generates an enormous amount of self-trust. You're promising what you can do, and there's a high likelihood that you're gonna deliver on it and enjoy doing it.
0:19:04.9 Dex: And then it becomes about choosing the actual opportunities or reaching out for the actual opportunities that fit all of these values and criteria that you have created. And then you continuously refine your filters. If they turn out not to be a dead fit, you don't have to sit with them. You could keep ripening and maturing them. And if you're trying to make those opportunity filters, you're not really sure where to start, you can ask yourself questions like: Do I prefer high growth or stability? Why? What feeling does each one give me? What opportunities arise for me when I choose one way or the other? And what do I say to myself about a high-growth role versus the stable role at this point in my career? What do I make those choices mean about me and my professionalism and my ambition, for example? What would my ideal work landscape look like this year, and over the next five years, or maybe even 10 years, where do I want to take this?
0:20:12.6 Dex: If I was 100% confident that it would work out perfectly for me, I would choose what? What does future me have to say about this, the future me who's already got their success for all that I'm tilting for? What advice does he hand back down to me? What feels good to me? What do I value most, short-term and long-term? Is there anything I want to pursue but self-judgment is denying me? This is a huge one for people in burnout or just recovering from burnout. We have a faltering sense of our own abilities. And it's really time to take a bigger leap, to take a stronger position. So if there's something that you want to pursue, but self-judgment is denying it to you, that's a really good indicator that maybe there's a little gap between where you are now and where you want to be in order to apply for this thing, but that gap can be worked on, particularly with coaching, of course. And how can I take care of myself and create the confidence to pursue what I want? So you get to be your own champion in this new opportunity search. You get to back yourself completely, and coaching is really, really good for this as well, really powerful in creating a much more forward-leaning, futuristic self rather than a looking-backwards-trying-to-avoid-my-mistakes self.
0:21:45.5 Dex: So, really think about the income streams, the term of the opportunity that you want, the kind of people you wanna work with, whether it's creative, commercial, operational, or what tone of the work is, and write on your agreement with yourself about income. For example, if you're looking for a new opportunity and you know it's gonna take 6 months to a year for you, then, okay, make an agreement with you that you won't... That you ensure that you have enough money to cover that period and you won't keep bothering yourself about money anxiety along the way. You just tell yourself, "Don't worry, I got it. I gave myself 6 months or I gave myself a year and I can cover it, I'm not gonna think about the money," and take an opportunity for money pressure.
0:22:37.0 Dex: So that's what I got for you today. I really would encourage you to, if you're in burnout, it's too soon really to think about new opportunities. But what I would suggest, fundamentally is don't make any rash decisions about the career you're in or the job you're in right now while you're in burnout. Resurface first, get your buoyance and confidence back first, and then make your decisions, 'cause you're gonna make better-quality decisions for the long term for yourself. But on the other hand, I've shown you all of the things today, because I want you to have hope that a much, much better, more suitable future is available to you if you wanna take it. The path there is just a step-by-step process. And it unfolds, and it unfolds as you recover from burnout, and then it explodes into a new level of career growth or income growth or whatever it is that you're seeking.
0:23:30.1 Dex: So, as ever, I believe in you, and I know you can create that for yourself. And it's what I offer to my clients when they come for coaching with me, is this massive upside after they've come out of burnout. 'Cause I think that that's where you really wanted to be, isn't it, all the time? So, if you are in burnout, 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. And if you enjoyed this episode, I would so much love you to help us by rating and reviewing this podcast so I can reach out to more people in burnout. And if you know somebody else who's heading towards or in burnout, please do send them the link. I recommend that if you're new, you listen to the first five episodes of the podcast to get started.
0:24:21.1 Dex: Thank you so much for being here, I will catch you again next time. 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.