Burnout to Leadership

Ep #1: What is burnout?

September 24, 2021 Dex Randall Season 1 Episode 1
Burnout to Leadership
Ep #1: What is burnout?
Show Notes Transcript

 Burnout 101.

What you will learn:

  • What burnout is.
  • How to know if you're in burnout.
  • How you got here in the first place.
  • What you can do about it.

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. Hi, this is Dex, welcome to episode 1 of the Burnout to Leadership podcast. And today what I want to talk about is, what is burnout and what can we do about it? This is basically burnout 101. First though, let's look at why you're here. You probably are going to be in or near professional burnout, it's probably been going on for quite a long time, deteriorating, and you feel quietly desperate and you don't know what to do. And so, first of all, I'm here to tell you that burnout can be fixed, reliably, simply, sustainably, and any professional can do it, you can do it. I teach my clients to emerge from burnout and perform at a higher level than they ever have, and with the passion that they've been missing for usually quite a long time. So on this episode, I'm going to look at what you can do about burnout. Even if you think you can't fix it yourself, I promise you, you can, you can recover from burnout without changing your job, without changing the people, without changing the systems in it. And when we're talking about recovering from burnout, what I really want for you is autonomy, agency, I want the return of your power so that you get to choose your work life, basically. I want you to be able to create your own recovery, not rely on someone else to do it. So regardless of your job, this is possible, and because of that, my friend, it is a sustainable solution. So whilst we acknowledge that external factors have played a part in your burnout experience, what we're interested in here is taking your power back and fixing burnout yourself. What we're not going to do, what we're not going to focus on is fixing your organisation, because unless you're the boss, that's not your job. So basically, I just want you to enjoy work again, period, and in the coming episodes, I'm going to explain exactly how you can do that. So let's talk about risk of burnout, how to check if your work self is at risk of or even in burnout. So I go straight back to the World Health Organisation, who defined burnout in 2019 as a syndrome, not a medical condition, you notice, a syndrome. And I quote, "Burnout is chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed, and it shows up as the chronic experience of exhaustion, disengagement, negativity or cynicism and reduced performance". And for me, to be honest, that includes a whole bunch more experiences, such as anxiety, stress, overwork, frustration, perfectionism, procrastination, people pleasing, impatience, disempowerment, anger, helplessness, disappointment, resentment, avoidance, self criticism, cognitive and attention problems, brain fog, compromised performance, feeling out of control, fear of failure, loss of enjoyment or interest in activities outside work as well as inside, lack of direction, indecisiveness, despair, insomnia, over drinking, over eating or some other addictive process. Physical illness usually comes along for the ride, and of course, strained relationships and loss of connection with workmates, family, friends alike. It's basically, burnout is a closed loop of high expectations, self judgment and low reward, and it typically happens to type A personalities, where maybe you're alpha male. It's basically high achieving, driven professionals who are used to being at the top of the game, but now they've lost their mojo and have become insecure. They've had kind of a crisis of faith in the self belief, they're worried they're going to let the side down or they are letting the side down, and quite often there's a moral injury component at work and maybe at home too where they can't achieve what they need to. So if you're relating to a bunch of these symptoms and you might be in burnout, here's why if we're in burnout or once we're in burnout, we don't self right. Basically, we're type A fixers, and so we will try to fix the problem, but the habits that got us into burnout won't get us out. So I'm going to tell you what happened to me in burnout in a minute, but first, if you've been heading towards burnout for a while and it's not looking good for you, you don't have to change your job, because at this stage, that won't actually help. So here's what to

do. Here are the solution steps, there's four. Number 1:

Ask for help, find an expert mentor, who has a practical, proven, workable solution.

A hint:

I know you won't want to ask for help, nor did I in burnout, but nonetheless, it will be required.

Step 2:

Learn tools to systematically combat stress, anxiety, frustration, exhaustion, and all the other symptoms of burnout at the root cause level.

Step 3:

Apply those tools and solutions consistently to continuously improve

your work and personal life. And step 4, this is the magic step:

Become a super achiever at a higher level than you've ever experienced before, and explore what's possible for you in your future. Now, I can show you how to do all of that if you like, this is what I do, it's what I teach. I teach tools to permanently overcome burnout and live a life you actually want, and my clients tend to start feeling better around the three to four week mark, and then it just keeps getting better and better and better from there on. So all my clients are high achieving, capable professional problem solvers, they're big hearted, intelligent, skilled people who've just kinda got into a rut of overwork and under reward until they've had a flame out, so until their performance isn't where they want it to be. They're exhausted, they've lost heart and eventually they hate their jobs and even their lives. Really, so as I've said, I see burnout as a crisis in self belief. It's like this, I used to slay dragons with my bare teeth, now I struggle to get my toast on board in the morning. Remember, everything I talk to you about in this podcast will be to help you bring yourself out of burnout, not wait for something to change or someone else to come to your aid, and I promise you, that's available to you, whatever is happening for you right now, whatever job you're in. And this is me, right? This is what happened to me. I got into software development way way back. I mean, this is before they'd even invented the PC, sad to say. And I loved it. It was just logic. It was just 0 1, and that makes me sound kind of nerdy, but there you go. Anyway, I kind of slid into an emerging software development market, and I really loved it, I was amazingly successful, everything I touched turned to gold, and it was a lot of fun and my bosses always wanted to promote me. But back in the day, I really wasn't a very good people manager, but I was red hot at technology, solving clients' business problems, project management and making money, so I basically just kept on going for decades and I kept loving it. But to cut to the chase, really, the bottom began to fall out of it when I went back to corporate after running my own business for about 10 or 12 years, and I got a series of jobs where my performance was objectively fine, but somewhere inside in me, I wasn't really enamoured with it myself and I stopped seeing my performance as satisfactory, I started leaping from job to job thinking it was the job, and the last two or three jobs, probably, I really didn't rate myself that highly at all. And they were entrepreneurial and start up roles, and even in those, I was still objectively performant, but the start up culture, I found a little bit tricky. And I was very, very successful at people management in those jobs as well. I'm not really sure why I couldn't believe in myself, but my belief just tailed off really badly. So the long and short of it is, I ended up managing a product at a start up where the CEO had a refusal to launch, he basically stalled me every which way, while I tried all my tricks to get the product launch, with investors, of course, breathing down our necks all the while. And ironically, quick successful product launches were my specialty up until then, actually I'd built quite a reputation on it. But with him, I reckon he had me beaten and I knew I was burning out with the stress of it all, being unable to do my job, but I didn't want anyone to know that I was failing, especially him, so I really didn't ask for help. And I had no idea who could help me. Anyhow, I kinda just hid behind my screen, doing my best and racking my brains for a solution that never arrived. Eventually the boss was too stubborn for me and one Tuesday morning we had yet another meeting trying to agree on what we were going to do next to get the product out, and I just suddenly realised I wasn't going to win and that the stress was probably going to kill me, so I quit on the spot. And three weeks later at home, I had a major heart attack, nearly finished me off, three days in ICU, a little bit touch and go, to be honest. So that's my story. After the heart attack, I couldn't work for six months on medical advice, they just told me to lay on my sofa and do nothing. So naturally, I got curious then about burnout solutions, and I did a bunch of research and stuff, and that's when I came across coaching. And I'm kind of a cynical type, I don't know about you, but immediately I applied some of the coaching ideas they shared and they worked right away, and I felt a ton better, so I thought the ideas could probably work for other people. And I tested that theory out on other people, and it did, so long story short, here I am today. And what I teach is just how the various stressors of burnout are created externally and internally and how you can reverse those patterns. It's actually quite simple. And notice I said patterns, so this is where your agency to fix yourself comes in, you can change your own patterns, and I'm going to show you how to do that if you come and talk to me. So all of this is based on psychology and neuroscience, but it works a lot quicker than therapy in my experience, because it goes directly to the specific problem you're having today, and it fixes it on the spot. And I'm terribly impatient, I don't like slow things, even now, you too, huh? Because people in burnout, they're typically hugely capable of fixes, they want to fix everything, they're people who can be relied upon to get anything and everything done promptly, efficiently, they're basically the go to guys usually, so they're very, very quick learners and they apply what I teach very well, they bounce back. So if what you're hearing today sounds like you, if you are in or near burnout, it can be systematically experientially reversed. You can bounce back too. And here's what that typically will look like for you. You'll be able to create more energy and enthusiasm, more time efficiency in getting the right things done. Success way beyond whatever you've had in the past, less stress, anxiety and frustration, less procrastination, less self judgment, greater sense of reward and contribution, reduced sensitivity to criticism, bet you're looking forward to that one, I know I was. Easier and more pleasant work experience, greater motivation, working less hours, taking less work home, stop thinking about work at the end of the day, free time in the evenings and weekends, less insomnia and better quality sleep, reduced need for alcohol, over eating, coffee and any other indulgences you got. Better physical and mental health, better family and work relationships, more fun, enjoyment and relaxation, a renewed interest in life, higher self esteem, better results and prospects in your career, probably greater financial security as a result. And you get to stay out of burnout long term, you don't need to suffer burnout ever again. If you practice what you learn, it will protect you from burnout, it's basically going to change your way of being at work. So all of those are on offer once you exit burnout, but basically you're just going to like your life, your work and yourself a whole lot more than you do right now, and you will have created all of that. And by the way, if you're a professional in burnout, you're not doing it wrong, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with you, you've just had a flame out, but there is a better way that nobody's taught you yet, and I will teach you how to fix burnout and keep it fixed, so you don't have to escape to a new job only to have it happen all over again. You get to be the go to guy again at a much deeper level than you were before, people will start confiding with you and spending time with you, all that. It's 100% available, you'll be a much, much stronger leader. Whether you're in the leadership role or not, it doesn't matter, you'll still be a stronger leader, you'll be more of a people person, more comfortable around people. So what I'm going to do is, that's it for today. Next episode, I'm going to talk about why we get into burnout in the first place and what to do about it. If you're in burnout and you're ready to get out, if you want renewed passion and success at work, come and join my Burnout to Leadership program. You can book in to talk to me @burnout.dexrandall.com. Tell me what's bugging you and let's make a plan to fix it.