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.
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.
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.
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?
2) 2) Practice
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!
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.
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.