Mitigating my own burnout

Episode image Ep. 28 - Mitigating my own burnout

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I felt stuck in my business recently. Confused, tired, and overwhelmed. Everything felt hard and annoying and all the things I usually found energy in were draining me. But then it dawned on me. Wait, I literally have a system for fixing this. It's what I talk about every single day to my clients and audience. Why don't you use your own medicine, Anne? So I used my own program to diagnose and address my issues. I mitigated my own ennui and burnout and within six weeks was back on track - feeling energized and having readjusted the way I was working to better suit who I am and my current priorities. Because who we are and what we want constantly evolves. The business I created two years ago is not the business I want and need now. I needed to adjust. And I used my proven system to do it efficiently.

In this episode I dive into exactly what questions I asked myself and the adjustments I made to turn confusion, exhaustion, and frustration into clarity, energy, and momentum.


Welcome to the career studio podcast, where we boil down the noise and focus on the core concepts, essential for building an energizing career you love. One that is simply an extension of who you are and how you wanna live your life. Anyone can do it. It's just a matter of knowing what to focus on.

Hello, I did that really fun thing where I recorded an entire episode and then realized I had the wrong mic teed up. So that was really cool. So I'm back to record the same thing again, and this time it's going to be so much better. I wanted to talk about burnout. I wasn't totally burned out, but I was pretty rundown in the middle of the summer, kind of the end of July. And I want to talk about how I addressed that.

Because, you know, even though I'm a coach and I'm constantly thinking about my energy and how to optimize my career and my life, I run into hurdles as well. That's just a normal part of being human. And it isn't like one day you figure out how to sort out your life and then it's just perfect from there.

It's just that now that I'm a coach, I have tools to move through these periods a lot more seamlessly than I did before. And what is really cool about what I experienced this summer is I used the process in the system that I talk about and teach everyone else. So let me explain the story from the beginning and I'll go through everything.

So I was socializing a lot this summer and I was doing a lot for my business and I was having a lot of fun and I went to London for a couple of weeks. I lived there all my twenties and I have a lot of dear friends there and I ended up socializing a lot and going out a lot. And every day for two and a half weeks.

Then in addition to that, I was also running my business and everything. It all just came to a head. And when I got back, I just felt like I had been hit by a bus. I felt really exhausted. And I was also feeling grumpy about my business. And that to me is a huge alarm bell because I love what I do and I love my clients and I love my work.

And so if I'm not feeling excited about that, that means that there's definitely something wrong. I was feeling tired physically and I was then feeling just a lot of stagnation and overwhelm in my business. And you know, I was like having a little bit of a mope about it, but then I reminded myself, you literally have a system for fixing this. So just follow your own rules.

And that's what I did. And nearly two months later, I mean, yeah, like seven, six, seven weeks later, I feel completely different. And so I want to talk about that experience, what I did and how it got me to feeling clear, energized, have momentum, feeling more confident and sure about where I'm going.

Okay. So I used my own system. So when I got back, I was feeling super exhausted and burned out. And so the first thing I did is I started with the, you know, have these four cornerstones, the four fundamental things to focus on to create an energizing career you love. And if you need reminding of these, you can go back and listen to the first four episodes of the podcast, or you can listen to episode 25, I believe it is. About the four skills for career fulfillment that kind of summarizes everything in one go, but I'm also going to summarize it here today.

So because I was feeling so run down, I started with creating space to recharge. I focused on my time and setting boundaries and how I was spending my time and making sure that how I was spending my time gave me space to rest and recharge and fill my tank.

So what I started with is setting some serious boundaries, prioritizing sleep. And getting as much sleep as my body needed, not making sure that I was getting at the very least eight hours, but ideally creating a structure so that I could sleep until my body woke up naturally. Now, obviously I work for myself, so I can, I can do stuff like this, but this is what I did.

I stopped doing everything in my business that wasn't absolutely essential. Only, you know, serving my clients and what they needed and almost everything else. I did the absolute bare minimum or I paused. I basically said no to all social engagements. It was very helpful that a lot of people are out of town in New York in the summer.

So I didn't have as much demands on my time, but I said no to almost everything. I really focused on eating well and stocking the fridge with foods that make me feel good and sit well in my body. I stopped drinking completely. I've really focused on getting regular exercise. Now I was so exhausted at this point that I was doing really light exercise like yoga or Pilates or swimming stuff that felt really gentle.

Again, I was just in tune with what does my body need because I'm so tired. I did some creative activities. Creative activities are a great way to rest and reset your brain. So I did a bunch of doodling. I'm not a very good drawer, but I'm good at drawing from pictures and I have a whole little doodle book on how to, how to draw different things.

So I used that. And then I had a big project around redecorating or redoing my, my basement and my garden, which is a long overdue project I've had in my home. And I love interior design and decorating. And so I have, so I had a lot of fun doing that. Listen to a bunch of old records and music, exploring different musicians I like, right.

Well, basically I'm doing activities that feed my soul, that feel good. I also did a bunch of life admin that was overdue and hanging over my head, but. But you know, it was kind of like I was cocooning in my own home. I was resting, I was doing the bare minimum externally and just really focused on what are the activities that are going to fill my tank.

And I did this for three or four weeks. Really not socializing at all. You know, I had maybe a few friends over for dinner, but that's basically it. Okay. And what that allowed me to do after about two weeks, you know I started to feel a little bit better and I began to be able to think about my business And the reason that we have to fill our tank first and rest and recharge first, if, if we are feeling depleted is because it's impossible to connect with ourself and our internal wisdom.

It's impossible to hear your internal voice, if you're exhausted, if you're depleted, right? So that is the most important thing to take care of. And it's actually the first place I always start with my clients. We always first focus on making sure that the structure is in place to be energized before we do all of the other work. Okay. So because I was doing that, I started to have more space to just think about some of the things that weren't working in my business and do some of the activities that I'm now going to take you. Okay.

The next thing I did is I thought about my brand and what I mean by brand is, was the things I was doing in my business, was the way the activities that I was doing, the way that my business was structured, was that playing to the best use of my strengths and interests and priorities.

And so I thought about my weeks and my months and the activities and I'm doing, and I thought to myself, well, what's draining and what's energizing. I also have my own North star. So I reviewed my North star. I thought about the priorities I have for my business, how I want my business to feel, what I'm enjoying, what feels depleting, et cetera.

And so what I realized as I was reflecting on that, now that I was a bit more rested, I realized two things. One, while I absolutely love coaching and I love my clients and I love all the problems that we get to talk about and work on, the number of clients I have at the moment feels unsustainable. I'm meeting with people every week. It's like 15 or 16 people. And plus all the prep work for it, plus everything else is it's unsustainable. I love it. But the number of people and the structure is unsustainable. So I realized I was going to have to find a different way, either I need to coach less or I need to restructure my program in a way where I don't have as many one on one calls every week.

Okay, so I don't exactly at this point know what the solution was, but I could sense that this was part of what was draining. It's just the volume that was being required for me. The second part is while I love communicating new ideas I have and finding pithy ways to explain concepts in a way that really resonates with my audience when I'm having to create content at the volume that I'm currently creating. It is just, it's too much for me, right? I'm not finding it energizing. It's just too much required.

So I realized I probably needed support, right? That was something that was not energizing me and where I needed to bring in support. Right. So when you're thinking about your own career, you're asking yourself what's energizing and what's not and where something isn't energizing, where it's not fun.

You either need to restructure your role or you need to get support. You need someone to compliment you. So I kind of walked away from this part of the reflection being clear that I needed to do less hours of one on one coaching and I needed more content support. Third pillar is people and having conversations.

And what I realized is this had dropped off in the past year. Last year I had a business coach, I was working on, in a whole group building my business and I hadn't renewed that group for a number of reasons and you know, I just started focusing on other things and just the frequency in which I was having conversations and asking for help had dropped.

And I was barely doing it. And so no wonder I felt so alone. No wonder I felt so heavy. And no wonder I felt confused and lost and I'll get into it, but I had a lot of mindset around, like, how am I going to do this? This feels hard because I did, I wasn't talking to anyone. So I realized, and you need to start having conversations, right?

And you're building up your energy now because you're taking care of yourself and you have some concrete things you think you need help with, around restructuring your business around coaching and getting more content support. So this is what you can talk to people about. So I started having those conversations really organically with my friends, you know, they'd come over for dinner, they'd ask me how I was, I'd start talking to them about my business.

And I'm lucky that I have friends who also run businesses or who are doing interesting things. And, you know, people have opinions that I really value and it gave me ideas of ways to think about my own business. So, that was like an easy first step within the construct of what I was already doing. And I think people often forget about this.

Just the power of talking to people that you already see in your life about what you're doing and what you're trying to do, because you never know who your friends know. And, and sometimes when you say your things out loud, it also helps you start to articulate actually what's going on for yourself and what you're trying to figure out.

And it makes it more real, right? It's kind of like, all right, now that I've said it out loud, I have to do something about it. So I started like that in this very easy, low hanging fruit way. Then I started doing a little bit more of reaching out and thinking to myself, okay, who in my network knows content people? Who do I think would be plugged into a content person and I started asking them. Do you know anyone? I'm looking. I actually wrote a little brief about what kind of content I was looking for. And I started asking people, do you know anyone who can work on content with me? I'm interviewing people I want to find the right support and so that opened up a huge number of conversations with different people. People who could help me immediately, or people who are connected to people who could help me.

And the result of having those conversations has been tremendous. I mean, not only have I found interesting people to support me from a content perspective. I've also reconnected with coaches. I haven't connected to in a long time who structured their businesses in different ways and have given me ideas of people to talk to or other ways to structure my business.

I wasn't even thinking about, they've given me other ideas for parts of my business. I didn't even come to them about, and I even got a free coaching session out of it. One of my acquaintances does this kind of strategic coaching for entrepreneurs. And she offered me a free session. And so I, basically, because I've reached out to people that forced me to do the preparation for this free coaching session, I wrote out a three year vision for my business.

She helped me think through it strategically. I am actually going to have her around the podcast but it won't be released for a while. But you know, things started to, like the energy started moving and I started getting support even in ways I wasn't expecting just simply because I started asking people for help, right. And starting to talk to people instead of staying in my own little cave, thinking like moaning to myself that it was hard and that I was confused. Right?

Like talking to people always lightens the load. It helps you answer your questions, your concerns and fears, and it creates connections and it changes the energy flow and You get new ideas that you wouldn't have thought of before and opportunities. And plus having those conversations made me realize I also need a business coach. And so I hired one, right? And now I'm starting with a new business coach next week, which I'm super excited about, right? And I realized I needed to, but I only got there because I allowed myself to rest. And then I thought about what's going wrong in my business. How is it aligned to my brand? Where is it? Where isn't it? And I started having conversations. Right.

And all of that led me to all of these interesting opportunities and clarity about what I want and where I'm going. And then allowed me to take steps to actually hire people to help me.

And then the last cornerstone and certainly not least is mindset. You know, when you're stuck in your career, you're often stuck in your mind. As part of my re-energizing process after a few weeks, after I was feeling a bit better and you know, cause at first I had no desire to think about my business. I was so burnt out by everything and just grumpy. And that I just, you know, watched TV and slept a lot and ate nice food and exercise and really just took care of myself.

I needed to do that for a couple of weeks until I felt a little bit better. Right? And then once I started to feel a little bit better. I started the rest of the process. Anyways, so once I was starting to feel a little bit better, I also did a thought download, which is a great way to mine your mindset for what might be going on.

How, might you be thinking in a way that isn't serving you? Okay. This is very simple. All I do is I sit down and I think about the problem, which is like how I'm feeling about my business. And I just do a free write about whatever comes up. I do that for a couple minutes and then I look at what have I written.

And in that writing, I look for the fixed and closed mindsets. So what I realized, what I saw when I did my own thought download is I had these beliefs that there's not enough time. This is too hard. I don't know how I'm going to do this. I'm not going to hit my numbers. I'm never going to be successful.

Just, you know, limiting fear based thoughts, fixed and closed mindsets, whatever. We're all human and when we all get to these phases in our life, when things get a bit bumpy and harder, when we're in areas we haven't been before because where I am in my business is where I dreamed of being five years ago before I became a coach.

And now I've built the thing, right? I've built it. I'm here. Hurrah. But now that I'm here, I'm like, this is not like, it's not sustainable. It's also not working. So It needs to evolve into something else. And so I now have to grow in order to grow in this next phase. So, of course, whenever we come up against this, these bumps in the road that are normal with creating big things.

It's normal for our brain to go into a little temper tantrum, and in my case, it sounded like there's not enough time. This is too hard. How am I ever going to do this? It's like, I can't do this, right? That was what I was seeing. I was telling myself, and when that's running unmanaged in the back of my head.

Of course, I'm not going to be as productive and motivated as I could be, right? And so that the opportunity for me in that case was to catch myself and see those thoughts as alarm bells and change the channel to something else. Okay. I can always go there. That perspective is always available to me.

But when I'm in that perspective, it makes me feel frustrated and demotivated. And those are not the emotions that are helpful in me creating what I want. So I asked myself after I noticed those thoughts as part of the thought download, I asked myself, Okay, well, what do I want to believe instead? That's believable.

And what's believable to me is I can figure this out and what's believable is this is just the next step of my growth, just like all of the hurdles that have come before this journey that I'm on of completely recreating my career in life in a way that's very authentic and energizing to me, I will figure this out too.

It's just a matter of having conversations with people and taking action right and making sure that the way I'm taking action is in alignment with who I am and what matters to me. And then obviously in the process, I'm setting boundaries and doing things that energize me, not burning out. So I know all I have to do is just follow my process and I will figure it out.

I can figure it out and this is just the next step of my growth. So that's where my mindset is now and the way I caught that was doing a thought download and then choosing intentionally new beliefs that I tell myself as much as possible. Because that makes me feel motivated and I'm excited, right?

That's another thought. Like I'm excited for this next phase. Like it's new. I'm almost kind of bored of the way that my business is running now. I've done it for two and a half years. It's been great. I love my clients, but I'm ready for a restructure and something bigger. So yeah, it's now September 14th when I'm recording this and it'll be early October I think when you hear it and I'm excited. I'm excited because I have people around me and I have a vision for where I want my business to go. And I know I'm going to have to grow a lot as a person to get there. And I love growth and, yeah, I'm feeling really good in my body. You know, I feel rested and strong and healthy and that feels great.

And, I'm about to go out of town this weekend to a techno festival. So I'm feeling really good. And it's because the way I got myself out of the funk was to go through these four cornerstones, right? And this is really it. This is why I feel so passionate about what I teach because this is it. These are the four things to focus on. There's really like everything else builds off of these four things, right? Create space to rest and recharge. Set the boundaries on your time. You need to make sure you know who you are and what gives you energy and that your career is structured in a way as much as possible that takes advantage of that.

Three, talk to people, have conversations, make sure you're asking for help for the things that you don't know how to figure out. And four, manage your mindset. Make sure you're thinking intentionally. Make sure you're thinking in a way that is open and productive instead of fixed and closed. If you do those four things, this is how you move through these bumps, much faster.

This is six weeks instead of years. Okay. So yes, even as a coach I get a bit strung out and frustrated and this is the process. It's a playbook that you can come back to again and again throughout your career as inevitably who you are and what you want evolve. Have a great few weeks guys.

Take care. 

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