Episode 27

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Published on:

22nd Feb 2024

Is your busyness likely to lead to burn out?

This episode focuses on the risk of burnout due to excessive busyness and workload, particularly for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and high-level executives. There are some alarming statistics on the prevalence of burnout and provides practical tools to help listeners identify and address potential burnout triggers.

The main tools discussed are the "What" tool, the "Why" tool, and the "How" tool, which help individuals analyze their energy drains and sustainers, uncover the deeper meanings and fears driving their busyness, and incorporate physical movement to process stress.

Key Insights/Learnings:

1. Burnout is a significant risk for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and high-achievers due to the demands and pressures of their work.

2. Signs of burnout include feeling tired, drained, helpless, cynical, detached, and overwhelmed.

3. Identifying and acknowledging the signs and symptoms of burnout is the first step towards addressing the issue.

4. The "What" tool involves creating a list of activities that drain or sustain your energy, providing clarity on areas to reduce or increase.

5. The "Why" tool prompts self-reflection on the deeper meanings, emotions, and fears driving excessive busyness and potential burnout.

6. The "How" tool emphasizes the importance of physical movement and exercise as a means to process stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

7. Prioritizing self-care, such as exercise and movement, is essential for managing stress and preventing burnout.

8. Addressing burnout requires understanding and addressing the underlying causes, not just managing symptoms.


Show Notes:

0:00 - Introduction and statistics on burnout prevalence

1:00 - Personal anecdote about a client diagnosed with burnout

3:00 - Common signs of burnout

4:00 - The importance of acknowledging and addressing signs of burnout

5:00 - The "What" tool: Identifying energy drains and sustainers

7:00 - The "Why" tool: Uncovering deeper meanings and fears driving busyness

9:00 - The importance of healthy drivers vs. toxic drivers

10:00 - The "How" tool: Incorporating physical movement and exercise

11:00 - The necessity of prioritizing self-care and exercise

12:00 - Recap of the three tools and final thoughts

13:00 - Closing remarks and contact information


Get in touch with Sal

If this episode has caught your attention and you wish to learn more, then please contact me. I offer a free 20 min call where we can discuss a challenge your facing and how I may be able to help you.

Transcript
Sal:

Is your busyness likely to lead to burnout?

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that's a high chance.

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There are statistics all over the place

and some of them are really scary.

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One I was reading from the University

of California suggested that 50

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percent of entrepreneurs face burnout.

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Now that's worrying.

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There's a whole other set of stats from

GitNooks here which I was looking at.

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29 percent of small business

owners report feeling constantly

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stressed by their work and that's

according to a quick book study.

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Accounting platform.

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41 percent of entrepreneurs

report higher levels of anxiety,

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which can be a result of burnout.

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And that was according to a study

by the University of San Francisco.

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I won't go on with the numbers.

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I will go on with the reality that I see.

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It's only working with

clients in the coaching arena.

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Now, stress seems to be this

kind of regular thing now, right?

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we're all busy.

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There's a lot to do.

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And it's both true and not true,

so we need to be really careful

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of what truths we tell ourselves.

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I had a guy come to me, and he was

a super intelligent, high level

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exec, and he had been basically

diagnosed with burnout by his, GP.

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And he came to me, he'd been in a little

bit of recovery for a while, and he wanted

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to get back on, back on his feet, back

into his workplace, and, back to life.

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and I asked him some really fundamental

questions, and I was like, okay.

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Tell me a little about

your, your working format.

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What do you do?

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Now, how many days a week?

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How many of that sort of thing?

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And it came back like this.

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Six days a week minimum, sometimes seven.

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Twelve hours a day.

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I'm like, whoa, already?

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How are you going to sustain sleep,

nutrition, relationships, exercise,

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if you give that much time to work?

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And then of course it went on, and

you may be familiar to this, back

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to back meetings with no breaks.

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Constant demands out of the office.

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So on the train, or, from

one place to another.

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and we had a nice, conversation at the

beginning to see if I could help this guy.

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And essentially my work was to

help them see what were the.

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Factors that got you here.

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What were the practical

factors that got you here?

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And what were the mindset

factors that got you here?

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Now, there's a lot of information

that tells us about burnout.

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Things to look out for.

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Now, if you're listening to this,

you might be a little bit concerned.

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So here, according to the Mental

Health team and research, they've got

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a bunch of things we should look for.

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So feeling tired or drained most of

the time, feeling helpless, trapped

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and or defeated, feeling detached or

alone in the world, having cynical

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and a negative outlook, self doubt,

procrastinating and taking long to get

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things done and feeling overwhelmed.

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Now they're the common signs of burnout.

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What I see with, people I've worked

with who are moving towards burnout,

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there is this whole sense of

depletion and you may resonate with.

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I've been here, right?

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I've been on the edge of burnout

myself, so I know it firsthand.

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it's a terrible place and I, I

remember giving a metaphor to someone.

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it was like going down a really

steep hill and you can see the

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edge of the cliff coming as well.

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So not only is this steep hill bad and

unpleasant, but There's a cliff edge at

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the far end, which if you go off it, it's

all going to end, which is no good at all.

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If you're running a business

You cannot lose your health.

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Otherwise you've lost your business.

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So back to burnout.

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Looking out for these signs are

important, but what I find really

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important and I really want you to

know this, is that signs, symptoms

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are signs and signs are symptoms.

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It's very easy to think

I can medicate this.

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I can meditate this.

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I can just sleep a bit more

and all these things can help.

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But what are the symptoms?

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They are signals and they're

telling you something and

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they're perhaps telling you them.

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Something needs to change.

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Now I've worked with another

person not too long back, Sarah.

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Sarah was a founder of her own company,

in the recruitment sector and she

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had been absolutely bang on it for

several years, really working hard.

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Now the work ethic, is admirable.

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The approach, damaging.

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So we need to be very careful of this and

Sarah got to the point where she was just

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fried basically and just had to stop, to

stop the business, had to stop working.

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She was a mom, she had a

relationship, so it's a really big

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effect on everyone and everything.

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And what I found with working with

these individuals, plus people who

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are moving towards high stress.

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There are certain things that we can

do to make a significant difference.

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The first thing is to recognize the

signs and symptoms, rather than put

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your, head in the sand as the expression

goes, is to name it and call it out,

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and probably speak to someone close to

you, like a partner or a friend, and

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simply speak of it so we don't bury it.

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The first place of, change

is acknowledgement, so you

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need to acknowledge it.

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This is the first step.

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Then the second, and this is a practical

tool, and I I use this all the time

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and this is super, super helpful.

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So I want you to work with this.

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this is the what?

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This is the what tool.

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So what is causing me high stress,

chronic stress, or perhaps on

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that slippery slope to burnout.

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So if you have a pen and paper, or you

have a Miro board or a digital screen.

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Drop a line down the middle.

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On one side, you put the word drain as

in D R A I N and the other word sustain.

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On what I'd like you to do, and

you may not have time while you

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listen to this, but do it after.

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Write down everything that

drains you on that left side.

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So for me, it might look like a lot

of emails and admin and stuff and

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maybe I should give it to the VA.

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Whatever the things that drain you.

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Lack of sleep, disruptive sleep.

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I have an autoimmune

condition, so health factors.

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What is it that drains your energy?

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What takes away from you?

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Get it all down.

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Now, every one of us is different.

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For a lot of people, there

are money worries, there are

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pressures, there's time deadlines.

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Get them down.

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Understand what drains your

energy and adds to the burden.

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And when you've got that clear,

then look at what sustains you.

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So this is, it could be a relationship,

children, exercise, fun, laughter,

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daylight, some of the most obvious

things, but look at what sustains you.

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So you have this really quite clear

contrast between the things that drain

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you and the things that sustain you.

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Now, it doesn't take a psychologist

to tell you this, but you want

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to reduce the amount of drain.

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and increase the amount of sustain.

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This is super, super easy to do.

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And sometimes the sheer act of

naming, and identifying has helped

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so many people I've worked with.

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So start with that.

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That's the what.

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So that's a great tool to work with.

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Then let's go deeper into the why.

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This is something which comes up for

my, a lot of the people I've, I coach.

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So founders, business owners,

sometimes high level execs.

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But this is the why question, the meaning

question and the fear facing question.

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So how come you're working so hard?

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Question.

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Yeah.

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Why are you doing 12 hour a day,

six day weeks, whatever it is.

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Now, normally our lovely brain

comes out with some justifications.

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They're called cognitive biases and

they confirm our worldview, but we

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will need to get underneath that.

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So for example, so many people say, you

know, I've got to grow the business.

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I need to make sure revenues coming in.

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They're all, credible

things that we need to do.

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But there's a distinction between knowing

the facts and having a highly charged

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emotion and meaning connected to them.

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And what I find with high achievers

is often that there's a huge

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investment of one's ego and one's

sense of self in the business.

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Trying to be a success versus looking

at the percentage growth of your

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business are very different things.

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And this meaning making part, this

emotionally led part, the thing that

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will push you, probably unconsciously,

into driving too hard, overworking,

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overstressing, this needs uncovering.

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So I'm looking for meaning

and generally toxic beliefs.

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Figure out what are you afraid of.

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Why are you working so hard?

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And be careful of not giving

it the old justification.

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Well, I've got to do this, got to do that.

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Why are you doing it?

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Because if you compromise your

health, you compromise everything

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You know, you are number one.

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You're the business.

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You are the business.

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So look at that and be honest with

yourself, but be gentle as well.

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This isn't a state of

how do you judge oneself?

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This is a state of self awareness

to understand what am I doing?

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So that takes us into the why tool.

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Why might I be getting towards burnout?

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Why am I doing these long hours?

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What's really driving me?

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And we want to change toxic

drivers for healthy drivers.

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So there's a difference between I'm

working really hard to grow my business

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versus I'm working the right amount

with absolute focus because my business

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makes a big impact on people's lives.

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One can drive you into the burnout

state and one can drive you

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forwards into a healthy state.

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So there we are, that's the whine.

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And the third tool I'd love

to share with you is the howl.

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Now, many, many people, including

myself, spend way too much time thinking.

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And we're in our heads, and we're

conceptualising, and we're worrying and

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ruminating, and boy oh boy, I have a mind

that could be so active, I could have

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probably 300 thoughts within 10 seconds.

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So, I get it, I know what a busy mind's

that's why I do the work I do to calm it.

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But if we're in our heads all the time,

if we are in thought and abstraction

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and worry, we are not embodied.

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we probably are.

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We're having stress in our body,

but we're not connected to our body.

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So regular listeners, you'll know

what I'm probably going to say.

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My new listeners, you need

to get into your body.

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Exercise is a non negotiable.

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You don't need to be an athlete today.

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But if you are sedentary, a knowledge

worker, high levels of stress, and

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you are not physically processing that

through some form of movement, there

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is your opportunity to shift this.

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Now walking, obvious,

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daylight movement processing.

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Physical strength training, brilliant,

because it works on the musculature and

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the metabolic system, dancing, walking,

running, skiing, whatever your thing

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is, what can you do that is embodied?

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And what can you do on a regular,

and I would say daily basis,

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not just a quick session once a

week, what can you do every day?

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Now, I've had many people

say to me, Oh, I'm too busy.

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I haven't got time for exercise.

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And on some level, there's a truth.

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I'm a very busy individual.

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I have a lot of things to do.

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And sometimes time feels like it's

squeezed, but there's a distinction

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between priority and justification.

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So it's back to the why question, right?

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So if you prioritize exercise,

whether it's a 20 minute session

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in the morning before you start

work, you prioritize yourself.

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and your health.

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If you do not, if you prioritize,

dopamine charging your brain with

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emails, first thing, you're prioritizing

someone else's ruling your life.

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So you get to choose and it's

really, really important.

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And the better you are physically,

the more connected you are

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physically, the healthier you are.

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Your stress tolerance levels go up, your

stress capabilities go up, your ability to

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process things like those Adrenaline and

cortisol, the stress hormones you may have

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heard of, they physically are processed.

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So I would say if you're a stressed

individual moving towards burnout, find

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a strength and conditioning program.

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Get on something really good

so you can physically be in

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your body and process that.

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It will help balance that sway towards

too much of my time in your mind.

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So there are three tools there.

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There are three tools I use with many

people that I work with and I want to

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share them because you should know this.

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If you're struggling, use the right tools.

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It can really help.

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So you've got the drain sustain model.

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to see what is happening.

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You've got the meaning making

question, like why is this happening?

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What meaning am I making of this?

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what fears are driving me?

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And the how question, how can I

change this to become a physically

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healthier situation will move

you away from that burnout edge.

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It will give you a better perspective

and it's so, so important, isn't it?

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why are you working?

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I run a business because I

love it and I love what I do.

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The business doesn't run me.

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And make sure if you are leading

that, you are leading those choices.

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It's gonna be a healthier and more

sustainable approach to both your

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health, your life, and your business.

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Now, again, it's a whistle stop

store, as I do with these solos.

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I hope that you can grab these

stores, take them, and utilize

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them if you are having a challenge.

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If you want to know more, if you've caught

this on a social platform somewhere,

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or if you want to reach out to me,

all the contact details are linked.

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Drop me a message and let me know how

you get on with one of these tools.

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And, yeah, don't be too busy.

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Don't burn out.

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Stay well.

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Till the next time.

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Take care.

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Thank you so much for listening.

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If you enjoyed the

episode, please subscribe.

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And if a friend would benefit from hearing

this, do send it on to them as well.

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If you would like to get in touch

yourself, then you can go to my website.

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Which is Sal Jeffries dot com,

spelt S A L J E F F E R I E S.

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Sal Jeffries dot com.

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Hit the get in touch link and there

you can send me a direct message.

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If you'd like to go one step further

and learn whether coaching can help

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you overcome a challenge or a block

in your life, then do reach out and

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I offer a call where we can discuss

how this may be able to help you.

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Until the next time, take care.

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About the Podcast

Mindset, Mood & Movement
Human performance podcast for life and business
Feeling stuck, stressed and exhausted is bad for you, your health and your business. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Sal Jefferies is a coach who helps founders overcome anxiety, build confidence and become healthy. This podcast will help you feel calm, confident and strong in life and business.

Sal has a unique coaching philosophy which integrates psychology, emotional regulation and embodied action. This podcast aims to share knowledge, skill and strategies from these 3 interwoven areas - mindset, mood & movement.

Each fortnight, Sal will be in conversation with a guest from a specialist field of human performance and behaviour. The week in between will be Sal's own shorter episode where he's goes deep into various topics - all created to give you the tools to become calm, confident & strong.


About your host

Profile picture for Sal Jefferies

Sal Jefferies

I believe in helping people become free - free of anxiety; to be authentic; to not worry of what others think of you. Free to create, to love and free to be calm, confident and strong.

I understand what it’s like to find life difficult, to deal with challenges and to feel lost; that’s why I over the last 15 years I have immersed myself in yoga, psychology and human behaviour. I have been on a journey of deep change and growth and I know at the core of most life choices is the desire for freedom and peace. I work with people who think deeply and feel deeply and looking to change, evolve and grow.

I don’t take myself too seriously and I bring a light and positive energy to my work. When I’m not coaching, I love reading and learning about anything to do with the human experience. I am also super active and movement is a big part of my life - running, swimming, strength training, doing yoga or enjoying being out with my dogs.