I’ve seen my share of good people wrestling with burnout. I’ve spent time in large organizations. I have also been through 5 start ups and 2 IPOs, and I have also coached and mentored a lot of busy, hardworking people. Many of these clients find themselves taking on more and more responsibility, getting busier and busier, working harder and harder, and beginning to feel like they are spinning their wheels. Many find themselves running out of steam. Some are in full on burnout.
What most of them don’t realize, because it happens so gradually, is that when you are working very hard, and have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders, stress hormones are slowly but steadily building up in your system. The impact of these hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, etc.) is huge. Your mind gets so busy, and so locked into dealing with the problems at hand, that you have trouble sleeping, decision making becomes more reactionary, your creativity, intuition and social skills drop off, you feel overwhelmed, and you have a strong desire to crawl off by yourself and withdraw. It can feel like all the joy has run out of your life.
If you don’t do anything about it, it can lead to things like panic attacks, adrenal fatigue, and ultimately the breakdown of your immune system. This sort of thing happens all the time, to millions and millions of people, and is often labeled job burnout, overwhelm or a mid-life crisis.
So what can you do about it?
When my clients are running up against this problem, after I explain the phenomena and symptoms, the first thing we work on is helping them free up just a little time each day to do pretty much anything that disengages their thinking mind. Solid research has shown that if you only take 10 minutes twice a day to do things like; go for a walk, do some mild exercise, get out in nature, chat with friends, listen to music, do a hobby, dance, play, meditate, do some yoga or simply enjoy a coffee or a sunset – it can start to reverse the build up on the stress hormones.
The key is to find a few things that are easy for you to do each day, that take your attention off the habitual thoughts and focus it on whatever you are doing. And since the mind does not follow instructions well, in practice this means that whenever your mind goes back to thinking about the job, deadlines, problem de jour – you bring it back to whatever relaxing thing you are doing. It might take a while, and often the support of others, to establish new habits. However, if you persist, you begin to feel the benefits. And of course, if you do more than 10 minutes twice a day, it all goes quicker.
Once a client does a bit of this, they begin to feel a lot better. Then we begin to talk about happiness to help them understand what truly makes them happy. Even though most of us are always pursuing greater happiness, few people have ever thought deeply about the topic. Most assume happiness is found solely in accomplishments, acquisitions, exciting new experiences, new relationships, etc. But these are often the fast food of happiness. Their effects do not last long, and then folks run off after then next bigger or more exciting experience.
Good science has demonstrated real, enduring happiness boils down to being engaged emotionally in your work and personal life (caring about it), feeling like your gifts are regularly being used or expressed, having a good measure of autonomy, and living your life in a way that provides meaning.
With most of my clients this leads into a conversation about what brings them more meaning. Everyone is different, but almost everybody has some core values around key relationships, accomplishments, peace of mind, autonomy, making a difference, and health – even though most take their health for granted until they get sick.
When you start to make decisions that honor your values, you begin to experience a lot more happiness, more meaning, and a sense you are living the life you are meant to live. Things generally work smoother and better.
The Hidden Gift
When you hit the proverbial wall, and are in the middle of a burnout or overwhelm experience, it might not feel like much of a gift. You can feel like you are thrashing away with no solution in sight. However, as Einstein once said, our biggest problems are never solved at our current level of thinking. When you take the time to step back, and carefully discern what the universe is trying to tell you, adjust, and follow through on the necessary changes – great things can come out of it.
Information And Resources For My Fellow Coaches
FYI – Coaches Wanting More Clients
The 2017 edition of my affordable marketing program for coaches is starting shortly. If you are sick of struggling away by yourself and want to work together to learn how to attract more ideal clients, I invite you to see why over 500 coaches have chosen this program as a practical and step by step approach to build a far more successful coaching practice. The program includes 1 to 1 calls with me, and small and large group calls, to support participants to learn all about marketing coaching services, find their niche, build their confidence, grow as a coach, build a website that works, figure out social media, write, speak and network, etc, and generally find a few reliable ways to routinely connect with enough ideal clients – in a way that has integrity and suits their personality.
If you are genuinely interested in getting to a place where you are not worrying about your practice, you can read all about the program here, Affordable Marketing For Coaches and view the many great testimonials from past participants.
If you have any questions, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat, answer any questions and make sure it is a great fit for you. BTW, the program is pay as you go, and comes with a solid satisfaction guarantee.
I hope you can join us, and I hope you will find this program inspiring and of great value on your journey to become a successful and happy coach. xxx Steve.
Additional Videos and Tips For My Fellow Coaches
I have recently put up new videos talking about Confidence For Coaches, Doing Year End/New Year Planning Sessions and one in which I share 3 Key Under-Discussed Marketing Tips (or Resolutions) to my Facebook Page. You can see them all and stay in contact with me here at Steve’s Facebook Page. This is where I regularly share valuable tips and videos to help my coach colleagues. You can also see a number of posts on getting the most of your Social Media. xxx s.