How to avoid burnout and be brilliant? Here are five simple steps!

When I was filling in my paperwork for Ladies' Power Lunch, the free women's group that I host, I was asked for my designation. What did I want to say my role is in our organization? I thought about this long and hard. I could be CEO, president, founder... none of these titles fit just right for me. Then I realized that I could make up my own designation, and so I did! I am officially the CHIEF HAPPINESS OFFICER of LPL. For those of you who know me well and know how goofy I am IRL, you might chalk this up to me just being goofy me; And it is true that I love to inject a little FUN in everything I do, but me choosing this title goes deeper.

A long time ago I was driving in my car and found myself having an existential dilemma. I found myself with some unheard of free time and I started to try to fill this time and couldn't remember what I found to be fun, fulfilling or life affirming, what I wanted to do that was just for me.

Short version of this very long story: I had just started a new job, one I thought was my dream job. Plus after years of infertility I had also had my first baby. Lots going on, lots of positive stuff, but also a lot of stress and not a lot of time for me. I was getting up in the morning taking care of my lovie, dropping him off at grandma, doing a full day of work, picking him up, and then because his sleep cycle was inverted, spending the whole night hanging out with him. I wasn't sleeping, I was calorie restricting and training for a marathon to loose the baby weight and I was not taking care of me. I experienced one of the classic signs of burnout: I developed an autoimmune condition. In that moment I knew I had to reimagine my life or spend the rest of it struggling with health issues.

When teachers, leaders, speakers and gurus share with us, we often assume that what worked for them will work for us. My experience, both having gone down the personal development path and also my experience with clients and patients over the past almost 20 years, has lead me to recognize that when we talk about selfcare needs, it's not one size fits all. Step one to living in your brilliance is figuring out what your most powerful energetic pace is and then fitting that into the 5 step framework to avoid burnout and become brilliant.

Step One

In my experience there are three energy types. I like to call them the Power Queen Bee, The Power Builder or Power Marathoner and the Power Magician. Guess which type I am?! I will give you a brief explanation of each type here and I invite you to take the quiz to figure our your power pace: Click Here For Quiz

The Power Queen Bee

She is amazing. She can work harder and faster than most and she tends to be at her best doing specialized functions/tasks. (She is often a specialist at the top of her field or on her way there.) Because she can do so much in such a short time she has a tendency to overwork and the end result ends up being burnout in its many forms.

This energy type needs to learn that she works best in short bursts of intense activity. She is not built for the traditional 9-5. She actually is at her best and able to be even more productive if she takes almost as much down time as productive time. The down time, time spent doing things that are just for her, are actually part of her productive process. She needs to learn not to feel guilt for resting in  a world where just do it is the norm. She needs to recognize that she is built differently and act accordingly.

The Power Marathoner

Also amazing. She can work longer than everyone else. Akin to the energizer bunny, she can keep going and going and going... This type actually thrives on working. She gets energy and joy from doing the things she does and if not reminded to come up for air from time to time can get utterly consumed by her job.

This energy type needs to learn that: Even though she might literally need less sleep than others, and even though she doesn't feel good when she isn't working, she still must take time for that selfcare. Building in time just for you. Putting white spaces on the calendar are essential. It need not be a lot but it cannot be ignored. Also very important to avoid burnout, the power marathoner must ensure that she is working at something she is passionate about. Something she loves, that is what fuels her seemingly endless source of energy.

Power Magician

I love this type so much! She is creative to a fault. She can come up with as many ideas as an idea factory. She is often found in a leadership role and many might find it difficult to keep up with the speed with which she moves and sometimes her lack of communication with her workmates. Often she might find that instead of waiting for everyone else to catch up, she just ends up doing things herself.

What she needs to learn is: She works best when she is leading her team, not when executing the intricate details. She is here for her creativity and ability to get things going and when she is acting in that way she shines brilliantly. Because of the speed with which she operates, she may sometimes forget to celebrate her wins before being off to the next project and she may not remember to make time for her own selfcare. Building it into the schedule is a must.

Step Two

Click for video: Five steps to brillance

Once you have figured out your power pace, fitting into the five step framework for avoiding burnout and embracing brilliance becomes so much easier. Here are the five steps:

1) Picture: What do you believe?

It took me a long time, many years in fact to come to this way of thinking. I grew up in a very traditional sort of family and so I was never taught that we create our own existence. Sure I learned that if you put your mind to it you will succeed and that hard work results in success, but at no time was I taught that thoughts become things. That what we focus on is what manifests. It took me seeing that first hand and even playing with the manifestation process to actually realize that what we are putting out there energetically is what we get back. It took me a while to recognize that you have to know what you want, be able to PICTURE it in your minds eye, in order for it to show up IRL. I decided: "OK, this screwy idea sounds…well… screwy but I might as well try being happy and focusing on inner peace and watching to see what happens."

I’d tried all the other ways of being that I was taught and I wasn’t seeing the results and so I decided: "Ok, this screwy idea sounds…well… screwy but I might as well try being happy and focusing on inner peace and watching to see what happens." I had in the past just had emotions based on what was showing up in my life. If things were great and the sun was shining, then I’d have a big smile, and if things were going to the dogs, then my mood would be too. 

This ground breaking idea of not letting the circumstances of your life be the reason you feel the way you feel just seemed crazy to me, but reading book after book by guru after guru saying the same thing encouraged me to at least give it a 30 day money back trial. That was many 30 days ago. And TBH there have been ups and downs on this journey. Every day is a new day with this and that leads me to step 2.

2)      2) Practice

What I can absolutely say is that I’m still a work in progress every single day. Like I said, I didn’t learn this way of being growing up. What I learned and what was modeled to me was: There are some things that are just beyond your control. What I know now is I always have control over my emotions and how I choose to feel in any given situation. That doesn’t mean that unpleasant things don’t happen at all or that I look at the world through rose colored glasses. It means that because I am practicing every day to maintain my inner peace, on the days when I need it most I’ll be better able to weather the storm. 

It’s just like anything else. I remember when my baby was learning how to creep. (BTW, don't let him know I'm calling him my baby, he's now 7 years old going on 50 LOL!)  That little sweetie made me laugh so hard! He could only creep backwards. He was determined though, if he wanted to go get something, he would calculate its location in his little baby brain and then back his way towards it. I’m pretty sure that in a few years when he goes for his driving test he will ace reversing! Anyway, he kept trying to go forward, Practicing and practicing...and one day he got a little green talking dog stuffed toy named SCOUT. 

"...this time all his practice paid off: In the moment he needed to most of all."

Scout had been programmed to say the baby's name, it had flashing lights, and it could sing songs for him that included his name and all kinds of features that are catnip to babies. When he saw Scout for the first time, his desire to creep forward had never been greater, he had tried and tried, he had practiced, sometimes getting a few inches forward before moving backward again, but this time all his practice paid off: In the moment he needed to most of all, he moved forward all the way across the room, grabbed Scout (who promptly went into his mouth,) and he hasn’t looked back since. I’m constantly sharing stories of my crazy kids and their shenanigans but I share this to say that reaching for inner peace during a crisis may not come easily, but we have this overwhelming desire to feel better when things are at their worst and so it’s probably the perfect time to practice. 

"But how? You CAN practice emotions. True story!" 

Let’s try this: close your eyes and think about something for which you are truly grateful. It could be hugs from your kids, amazing support staff or a lovely life partner. Whatever it is that is meaningful for you, close your eyes and focus in on the gratitude you feel. 

The object of your desire may not have been in the room with you while you visualized your gratitude, but that did not stop the warm feelings from flowing into you did it? We can do this with almost anything, it just takes knowing how, focus and practicing.

3)     3) Process: Morning and daily routine

I’m going to share with you what worked for me; What helped me to build my happiness muscle.  And I’ll say again, we are all a work in progress, especially me, but I’m better today than I have ever been. This was recommended by one of my most trusted mentors and I have to say this may have been the game changer, no, life changer for me.

a)      Morning Routine
There is a little space in the morning when I wake up, when I know I’m awake but before I start planning my day and going off on all my tangents. I try my best to get control of my thoughts in this space and consciously project thoughts of appreciation and gratitude. Appreciation for another day, for health, for my family, for my internal plumbing working the way it should as I rush off to the bathroom.

Once I’m squared away, I try to introduce some movement / exercise. Usually yoga works well for me at this time and then I spend a few minutes meditating. I do a spot of journaling and then I listen to or read something inspirational to help set the tone for my day.

This means for me that I have to get up a bit earlier so as not to be disturbed by my little ones, but the time is worth it, and I notice that on the days that I miss incorporating this routine, that navigating challenges is a little harder. I also avoid all media, social and otherwise during this time. The emails will still be there when I’m done!

b)      Daily Routine
One of my mentors is a coach and teacher of universal law. She introduced me to deciding how I want to feel before I move into each different portion of my day.

"...deciding how I want to feel before I move into each different portion of my day."

For example- As I am walking into the kitchen to prepare breakfast for my kids before getting them on the bus, I remind myself that I want to feel efficient and in flow; As I drive to work, I tell myself I want to feel safe and secure; As I go through the day treating patients, I intentionally focus in on wanting to feel in flow and knowledgeable; when I return home to my family I want to feel love and joy …and patient; going to bed I want to feel relaxed and in gratitude. 

You can break this down into even smaller chunks of time, but what this ensures is that you are at all times paying attention to how you feel.

c)       Don’t beat yourself up
There are days when my morning “glow, “lasts longer than others. On some days I’m rushing so much that I’m not paying attention to how I want to feel and wander into uncomfortable emotional territory. On some days, things just overwhelm me. That’s OK.

Let us please not beat ourselves up for not being happy enough! Every day we have an opportunity to continue our practice and every day our happiness muscle builds and gets stronger, helping us handle the toughest situations with ease calm, peace and grace. And don't choose from my processes. Chose your own. Chose the ones that resonate for you. Do you like saying affirmations? Do you like pulling a card to get you a thought for the day? Do you like reading religious material? Walking in nature? Going for a run? Whatever works for you, do that and do not focus on what enriches others. 

4)      4) Personal care: Taking care of you

We’ve all heard that you can’t pour from an empty cup and that you should put your mask on first before helping others. These are not just platitudes. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to reach for happiness, it may elude us because of something physiological. Have you ever noticed that when you feel healthier, well rested, well hydrated, when you are fed, you have exercised and when you have avoided negative people places and things, that you just feel amazing, like you could conquer the world? Let me just put on my physician and recovering researcher hat here for a minute to let you know that yes there is a change in your brain and body chemistry in response to all these things. 

"...happiness, it may elude us because of something physiological."

I won’t bore you with the details, at least not in this article. :) Just look it up on PubMed though, I kid you not, these things affect how you feel, not just physically but also emotionally. So let’s make sure we are doing all we can to maintain our health in this time. Let us infuse our diets with healthy plant based foods. Let’s not skip meals even when we aren’t on our regular schedule. Let’s supplement our health with key nutrients. For most people a quality multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, a quality antioxidant, omega 3’s and probiotics, to name a few, can go a long way. 

Make sure we are getting quality sleep. With our schedules upended, we may be tempted to stay up late nights bingeing streaming TV, working on major projects, reading or whatever. That is fine, just make sure you are getting enough quality uninterrupted sleep. 

In the colder months we can be tempted to let our hydration fall by the wayside. Don’t forget however, that we are about 70% water and we can’t run many of our repair reactions in our bodies nor can we eliminate waste successfully without water. So drink up during this time. Try to get about ½ oz per pound of body weight - that is on average about 64 oz per day. 

We might find that we have more time in our schedule for moving our bodies thank we realize, so let’s do it. Build it into the schedule and it will happen.  Exercise releases endorphins as well as dopamine and serotonin in some cases. These are all chemicals produced by our bodies that can help us feel better naturally. Doing some yoga, going for a walk in nature, joining a virtual or in person group exercise class, going for a run or even lifting weights in the basement all count towards helping us feel better. 

And as for keeping the negative influences in life to the barest minimum, well, that’s just good sense. All that being said, if you suffer from not just situational depression, but clinical depression, incorporating these ideas as well as working with a professional counselor can be tremendously beneficial.

5)     5) People: Your Community

When we think about people and community, that includes the things you are ingesting. Ask yourself: What groups am I a part of? What media am I consuming? This is all going to contribute positively or negatively. Consider your friends, colleagues and family. Who are the ones that are energy drains and who are the ones that are supportive? I'm not recommending a wholesale unsubscribe, but instead being aware of who you let closest to you and into your direct energy field.

I’m also a firm believer that we don’t have to go it alone and that everything is easier with a collective of likeminded supportive individuals. Ask yourself: What are the networks that I am a part of? On our journey to improving our lives through this season  and beyond, success is so much more likely when we can ask the audience or phone a friend. 

"In this time, let’s look for opportunities for heart and soul connecting."

In this time, let’s look for opportunities for heart and soul connecting. It is my hope that whatever challenges we face in life that we end up better than we were at the very beginning. That we rediscover what is truly of value in our lives, that we look for the opportunity and silver linings in all of this and reach for innovation and deeper purpose.

My offer to you: 

I invite you to join us as we mastermind to raise our vibrations every day together. Will you join the Ladies' Power Lunch Group? As a member of the free group Ladies Power Lunch (LPL,) engage daily in our Facebook group, monthly at our LPL meetings, 

You will also be invited to attend our conferences, summits, and retreats. 

Most of us go to webinars, listen to talks, read articles and engage in all sorts of other self help activities, and at the end of the day we go back to living our lives as usual. What I have learned is that in order for us to truly move forward successfully, we need a container of support, and that is what we provide each other every day at Ladies Power Lunch.

If you would like to have a group of like-minded supportive individuals for accountability, conversation and support, then I invite you to join us today, for FREE.


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