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As leaders we are expected to be highly present, have clear and consistent insights, maintain significant levels of energy, and stay grounded regardless of circumstances. Yet in today’s world of relentless change this can be challenging. When’s the last time you focused on you? It’s not selfish… it’s necessary.
There’s an infinite amount of work, especially as a leader in your organization. Sometimes, you just need to put the brakes on, because there will always be more work. Your mind is active all day long with some 60,000 separate thoughts each and every day. With all of those thoughts, it’s not surprising that your mind becomes so loud that we lose focus We know we “shouldn’t” get freaked out and anxious, we know staying present will enable us to find better solutions, we know we “should” be getting a good night’s rest to tackle the situation with a fresh mind the next day, but we can’t always get there without help. We’ve been hijacked. Our patterns are in charge. We’re human.
If you don’t take time to pause and decide to keep going on your current path or change a few things that will make a big difference in your life, you may burn out. It’s okay to take a look and say “Hey! This isn’t working” and implement a few changes that will steer you towards a destination that isn’t painful.
No one has time to process every single blip in their life. We can’t track down the source of every pattern and sometimes it’s not a pattern, it’s just life.
So how do we take care of our health and stay mindful of what’s important when life throws us a curve ball?
Here are tools that my executive coaching clients use that have empowered them to avoid burnout.
Release The Resistance: Resistance vs. Allowing
• Look at 10 things in your life/the world that you don’t want/like (tacky wall paper, etc.) and look at each one and say out loud “I do not consent to you” (it’s not OK that they are there). See how that feels in your body (feel free to use emotion wheel).
• Now look at the 10 things again. They didn’t disappear even though you didn’t consent to them! Now look at each of the 10 things again. Say “I consent to you” for each (heck, they are there anyway, not much point in resisting this fact—consent isn’t approval, it’s just acknowledgment). See how that feels in your body.
• Reflect on the feelings associated with not consenting/resistance to what is vs consenting/acknowledging what is. Optimism isn’t universal consent. It’s OK if things aren’t OK with you. Notice what it’s like to let them be not OK and yet acknowledge that they are there without energetically resisting them.
Maneuvers Of Consciousness
First, think of something you are resisting. Now do the following steps.
• Negative Evaluation (three minutes): Say out loud all the things you don’t like, what’s bad about this, what you can’t stand. Really trash it. Notice what are the feelings here? (see emotion chart if helpful) break state (ask non sequitur question/count something/shake body out)
• Curiosity (three minutes): Now get really curious about this situation. How did it come to be? What is familiar about it? What good things come from it? What are the feelings here? break state
• Amazement (three minutes): Now become amazed that it came to be. Wow! This is fascinating! What’s amazing about it? What are the feelings here? break state
• Full Appreciation (three minutes): Now honor everything about this situation/state. Yes! This has been so very helpful in order to bring me to the next level. Wow. So much gratitude and appreciation. What are the feelings here? break state
• Now do a short Outcome Frame below. Map out a clear vision of your desired state for 15 minutes minimum—bask in it, ask each question in detail
• What would you like? (something you can create and maintain)
• What will having that do for you? (what will you get/benefits)
• How will you know when you have it? (criteria/proof you got it)
• When, where, with whom would you like it? (scope and timing)
• What of value might you risk or lose? (get present to risk/what might change)
• What are your next steps? (get into action)
Learn where you are giving your power away. I discussed this in a previous blog on Energetic Weight, answering the 10 questions will give you some great insight into where your power is going.
Use the Emotion Wheel to help understand what you are feeling. The center feelings are the “core feelings.” The Emotion Wheel can help you get to the core emotion you are experiencing, increase your emotional vocabulary and make connections you may not have otherwise made.
Choose The Meaning
No matter what happens outside of us, we always get to choose the meaning we make about it inside.
Example: Lots of things are changing, lots of short notice client requests and deadlines
Meaning making option #1: This is so stressful! I am emotionally exhausted by this, it’s all too much!
[result of this meaning = missed deadlines, incomplete work, stress for self and those that have to deal with the missed deadlines/incomplete/low quality work, no fun for anyone and certainly no ease-grace-joy]
Meaning making option #2: Yes! Change means movement and growth and a chance to really shine and pace myself. I will show up fully to serve our awesome tribe. How great that I get to tap my awesome brain to become even more clear, find even more solutions as I focus on the outcomes I want to create.
[result of this meaning = empowerment, choice of how to respond vs compulsively react, ease-grace-joy, support of self and others, shine my light, honor my company values, choose my reality]
Which meaning would you like to make? Our words shape our reality, and meaning making and reframing are key to shape our reality.
The key to avoiding burnout is to visualize the person you want to be, set your intentions and get out of your own way.