Just Stop It: How to Stop Burning Out
"I am not doing anything well - leader, mother, partner. I'm just surviving."
"I just do not have the energy to care. It is what it is..."
"The tears are always just below the surface."
"You tell me how I am supposed to do it all - all the time."
These are quotes from a few of my clients, senior leaders at companies across the US and UK, who are trying their best to navigate through the simmering frustration and smoldering apathy that comes with burnout.
The challenge before them: Burnout is a new normal.
And it is not sustainable.
They are not alone: "42% of women and 35% of men in Corporate America have felt burned out in the last few months," according to the most recent Women in the Workplace report by McKinsey and LeanIn.org.
For many, many leaders, burnout is a new normal with very real negative ramifications for their health, relationships and career.
More bad news: it takes more than a massage and a long-weekend to recover from burnout. They are great steps forward, but you cannot stop there. Self-care is a practice, not a one-time destination.
TO STOP IT, START HERE >> What does burnout look like?
In most people, burnout presents in these three ways:
Exhaustion, low energy, frequent illness (think colds, headaches, stomachaches)
Negative, cynical, or apathetic feelings about your job, increased use of sarcasm
Reduced effectiveness at work and/or home
Have you noticed these trends in your mood, energy level and work output? Have you noticed these trends in peers, teammates or direct reports?
THEN GO HERE >> Get real about what you CAN do?
Yes you CAN walk back from burnout, but means you MUST to change your current patterns and habits. Again - Self-care is key to addressing burnout, and it is a practice, not a one-time destination.
Change is hard - especially when you are already exhausted by the very thing you are trying to solve. That is why I coach my clients to avoid doing everything all at once. Start small and build. Celebrate your successes, maintain them and then try another small change and/or hold a new boundary.
THEN READ THIS >> A recent article published by the Center for Creative Leadership offers a powerful six-step plan to help you attack burnout. Be warned - it will challenge you to do things differently if you want a different result.
Three pieces of advice stood out to me:
"Stop repeating the same things. Start trying something new."
"Stop holding meetings by default. Start building an intentional meeting culture."
"Stop perpetuating a 24/7 work week. Start encouraging boundaries."
If you are experiencing burnout (or are edging its way), read the article and make 1 commitment to an action that will help you back away.
If you know someone who is already at burnout, forward this message on. They need it.
Nicole Provonchee is an executive coach and strategist that works with women leaders and women-led teams across the nation.
After 20 years climbing the corporate ladder, Nicole started Bright Blue Consulting, where she can combine her skills as a coach with her practical experiences as a leader and executive. Nicole is a sought-after speaker and can bring her "get out of your own way," self-advocacy, communication, and healthy conflict skills workshops to your organization or company. If you want to be even more successful, reach out about coaching, learn more about her events and speaking, or reach out today.