How close are you to burning out? Could you recognise the signs? What will the consequences be if you did burn out? In episode 44 of Real Talk 4 Real Men, Guy and Chris unpack how you can guard against burnout.
As I sat on the last train of the night home from another exhausting and stressful day at the office, my brain continued to race as I reflected on the day just past and what the next day would bring — all starting again in just a few hours.
I loved my job — I felt like trading energy derivatives was something I was born to do. I loved the adrenaline of the constant competition, the camaraderie of the battle with my work colleagues; I loved the daily measurement of success and failure through what went in and out of our futures clearing account; and I loved how the four of us had built a multi-million-dollar business from nothing but deploying our intellectual property.
But not today.
I wondered what my kids had thought from yet another night going to sleep without seeing daddy.
I contemplated how I would function later today on a few hours sleep (I wasn’t as young as I used to be).
I began to wonder how I could gracefully exit without letting my colleagues down, but still satisfying my competitive thirst for the love of ‘the game’.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was heading towards burnout.
Could you recognise the signs that you are heading towards burnout?
I didn’t then, but now I know the signs.
Learn the 3 signs that you are approaching burnout
In this episode of Real Talk 4 Real Men, Chris and Guy will help you discover just that — the three signs you are heading towards burnout.
Also in the podcast, discover the benefits of having an intentional focus on looking after yourself (avoiding burnout), including:
> increased productivity
Less is more. Working smarter not harder. We know the cliches, but the jury is in that you will increase productivity if you manage your energy in a way that optimises your long-term emotional, mental and physical health.
“You simply will achieve more if you look after yourself.”
~ Guy Mullon
> increased cognitive function, which results in greater creativity
Creativity has been touted by many as being one of the big three qualities that you need to consistently succeed in the modern, globalised, tech-driven economies. However, when cognitive (thought) function is impaired, your creativity is one of the major abilities that suffers. Someone who is short on sleep will have reduced cognitive function in a similar way to someone who is impaired by alcohol.
“If you are chronically sleep-deprived, you might as well be drunk — such are the impacts on your cognitive function if you are nearing burnout.”
~ Guy Mullon
> Your health
Stress is increasingly linked to biological health. Interestingly, heart attacks occur at a rate 10% higher on a Monday morning than other days of the week. If you think you can cope with stress without limits without consequences, then you are deluding yourself.
> Your legacy
What is your life modelling to your kids, or to younger work colleagues who are looking ahead and assessing how you handle yourself? One of the reasons I left the corporate world was because I looked ahead and saw the mess that those ahead of me had made of their lives. I doubted that I could do better in their shoes.
So if you want to keep your best and brightest in your firm, give them more than just money, power and position to look forward to. Give them a good example to follow.
Even more important though, is the legacy you leave your children. What do you want your kids to remember about you? — that you were there for them, or that you were that man whom they called Dad but lived at the office? Give it some thought.
What to Do?
So what steps should you consider to prevent the consequences of burnout?
> Make a commitment to self care
Work out a plan for how you will take care of yourself — considering all aspects of your being: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Making this plan ahead of time provides you a basis for evaluating what comes up as to whether it is compatible with your ongoing health, or a potential risk to it. So, when a change of job or promotion or exciting project comes up, plan how you will sustain your health through it, rather than just go along and hope to manage it as you go.
> Set yourself some hard boundaries.
For example, I decided mealtimes were important, but it was unrealistic to be there every night. So I set a hard boundary of being home in time for dinner at least three days per week (when I was not travelling).
What would suit you? Perhaps it is committing to take a sabbatical once or twice a year to recharge, to take the kids away for a weekend each quarter, or to try and take one of your teenagers on your work trips. Think about setting yourself boundaries and stick to them.
> Plan how to recharge
Decide how you will recharge your energy levels, and allocate time and other resources to make sure you do. When I was energy trading, I loved what I did, but I needed an antidote for it. One of the things that worked for me was getting on my tractor and mowing lawns. My neighbor is the CEO of a major corporation, and he does the same. He spends his Saturdays mowing his 5 acres. He could pay someone to do it, but for him it is therapeutic.
“Self care is the antidote for burnout.”
~ Guy Mullon
> Spend time with God
We all need a consistent rock and perspective outside of ourselves from which to see ourselves, our environment and others. Spending time in prayer, in meditation on the word of God and ultimately in a personal relationship with Jesus is the best way to gain an accurate perspective of our lives.
> Find some help
Our brains are incredibly resistant to change. We are creatures of habit, and well-established habits are best changed with the help of someone else. In the same way that it is pretty difficult to tickle yourself, it is incredibly hard to change your thinking and behaviours without the help of a friend, coach or mentor.
“We all need help if we are to consistently and sustainably kick the goals in work, in family and in our personal lives.”
~ Guy Mullon
Ok, so where can you find the podcast?
Where to Find the Podcast
You can stream the podcast right here. Just click the play button.
But a better idea is to sign up (it’s free, and there are no ads) on your favourite mobile device.
On Apple devices, the easiest way is through iTunes and then open the Podcast app on your device.
In Android and Microsoft devices, download the free PodBean app from your store and search for Real Talk 4 Real Men. You can also subscribe through Google Play Music, Android and the PodBean website.
We hope this podcast helps you or a friend avoid the stress and potentially life-changing consequences of burnout.
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Originally published at Real Men 24/7.
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels.