Burnout And Breakthroughs

A few weeks ago, I was very tired. Not a physical type of tired- more of a screaming at the top of your lungs tired. If I had a barometer for shits given right then, it would have been at a zero.

A 2018 Canadian based survey found that one in five highly engaged professionals experiences burnout. You Cannot Power Through Burnout. You Must Address It. Go from burnout to breakthrough with this 8-week stress-management and life-recalibration program. “Science fiction has become science,” said an anti-aging biotech’s CEO about the company’s completing its $100 million Series B round of financing last week. “I think the world is going. Enormous innovation and breakthroughs will be required to revive the global economy. Along with it, previous assumptions of how business should be conducted will have to be reexamined. “Ironically, the longer the crisis lasts, the more seriously we will be forced to transform into more sustainable businesses,” one chief executive said.

Burnout to Breakthrough is a 1-2-1 coaching program that uses proven principles to build a strong foundation of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, vitality and longevity. Helping you to thrive in an ever changing world. Since 2012, I have been operating businesses in China, England and online and offer ‘From Burnout To Breakthrough’, a rapid transformation programme which comes with a guarantee to get you to your optimum health.

When I get this tired, I tend to want to give up on everything that I am doing. I want to quit Youtube, quit my coaching sessions, quit my relationship. If you open the car hood, and looked just a tad bit deeper, you’d notice that my oil has completely run out. This is the sign of burnout. Too much expenditure of giving vs. not enough receiving. Not enough saying no. Not enough speaking out. Not enough being yourself. Not enough of the nourishment that a soul needs to survive.

Luckily, I made a few phone calls, wrote a few times in my journal and slowed this process down. Instead of ripping all of the toxicity out of my life at once, I decided to wonder what my life would look like if I did things that truly excited me. What if I tried my sessions in a different way. Charge more money, charge less money. Do something new. Shake it up. These times in our lives require a makeover. A new leaf, a new style of communication, a re-invention, a new habit, a new career. A new something.

When your body gives up and wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater, it’s time to realize that the bodies way of saying no, is usually by stockpiling everything until you reach your apex. Once you hit that- it rebels and pushes against the rest of your life. It usually also involves you freaking out and wanting to tear everybody and everything down, all at once. You may not have even realized that you were under the stress. Stress can be sneaky. Resentment can be sneaky. You may not even know you’ve grown stale, or started hating the things you do. You may just feel a sense of obligation, and so you never examine them.

My body said basically:

I cannot not handle one more fucking thingthat I dislike right now.

Not one more asshole on youtube who tries to mansplain spirituality and my personal journey to me, not one more day of feeling alone in my relationship, not one more e-mail or request, not one more attempt at always being the bigger person. I said fuck it. I don’t want to be the bigger person in this moment- and that’s my salvation. I don’t want to always have to be the one that holds space. The one that talks compassionately. The one that gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. The one that will let you off, because I know that what you said came from an unconscious place of pain. I don’t want to try so hard. I just want to let loose and say NOOOOOO.

This not giving a shit also includes: questioning, in real time, why people are saying the things they are saying, asking for clarifications, intentions or accountability, not putting in any more effort, taking a break (a big one), scrapping the blueprints in favor of a blank page, starting from scratch, showing up exactly as you are in your job where previously you felt so much pressure to offer the perfect service, and being honest about how people effect me. This is a big one for empaths. A lot of people want to tell you how they are feeling, because you hold such great space. But it can also be very relieving to let people know exactly how their words or actions are making you feel.

All of this to say- sometimes when you are fed up & angry. It’s a good sign. It means your body is saying ‘hey listen, you’ve really been stockpiling me with a lot of stuff. I’ve been resentful for months down here. I haven’t had an outlet for this- can we smash all of the things now? It’s a sign that you are becoming authentic and your body is getting a chance to press the restart button. You are airing out the corroded people pleasing material from within.

It’s important to move forward with care when this happens- because anger can feel empowering. And with that power can come destruction. I was very close to tearing it all down, as I mentioned earlier. But if you allow it to be the fuel to a new way forward, your life can start getting exciting again. I know so many women who feel the wild inside, who want to scream at the top of their lungs and run after what they are longing for. Even if they don’t know what that is. Burnout is the way to get from the robotic auto-piloted you to the wild you. It is the vehicle. It will tell you that you’ve reached your limit and things need to change now. And it will give you the jet fuel to actually carry that forward. Because a crazy animal has been let loose inside that will destroy your old roles.

Burnouts aren’t bad, although they can be avoided. They can be avoided by letting yourself choose you. Guilt will arise, that’s fine. As Gabor Mate says, it’s better to feel guilty than resentment. Choose you, over and over and over again. You might be scared and horrified and feel like the new will not fit. But what do you have to lose? Soul’s die when they give and give and give and don’t get their needs met. They whither away until they run out of juice and surrender. This is your chance to be the greatest advocate and cheerleader to your inner strength. It’s in there somewhere. Buried behind the need to make people like us.

So if you are a people pleaser like I have been, and you feel guilty with most of the decisions you make where you have to advocate for yourself (and usually that means letting someone down), let guilt be the indicator that you are doing it right. My main prerogative for so long in all of my relationships, is to not rock the boat. To not talk back, to not bring up conflict, to make sure that my opinions weren’t too outlandish. To always be the loving one. But as you can see, a burnout enough times can let that inner badass phoenix out to lead you to your own gigantic breakthroughs. Let that phoenix fly And more importantly- let that phoenix create something new.

Love love love,

Laura

The difference between burnout and breakthrough hinges on a key, defining moment.

Up until that moment they actually look quite similar.

How do I know?

This year alone I’ve had coaching sessions with over 250 people who consider themselves high-performers: entrepreneurs, tech developers, executive coaches, CEOs, and non-profit leaders. I typically spend between an hour or an hour and a half talking with each of them the first time we meet, which breaks down to 2 full weeks’ worth of discussion on the challenges of peak performance (let alone our subsequent sessions together).

Breakthroughs

Inevitably when they reach out to me, they’re in the midst of a wild transition in their personal or professional lives.

They’ve come to a point where they realize things can’t continue as they have been. When someone finds themselves in that situation, they speak in remarkably consistent ways:

  • “I feel like a half-baked version of who I used to be.”

  • “I have an underlying sense that I’m not enough.”

  • “Let me just get through the day.”

  • “I feel as if I know less than I’ve ever known.”

  • “If I don’t make a change, I’m going to feel like a shell.”

And the emotional charge behind those statements is consistent as well.

In their work they swing between boredom, frustration, and checking out due to overwhelm. In day-to-day life they find that their confidence is rattled. They’re looking squarely in the face of insecurity, insufficiency, and incompetence. It’s unsettling.

They’re embarrassed because they’ve always had a track record of success, and they feel like with all the work they’ve put into figuring themselves out they should be farther along. They’ve known what to do for so long…

In fact they’re often the folks other people look to for answers, and now they find themselves at the point where they don’t know what to do anymore.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

It’s the most important question in the world.

Breakthroughs

How you answer it determines whether you walk down the path toward burnout or breakthrough.

In that moment where you can’t clearly see the path forward…

Where you hardly trust yourself to take the next step…

Where you’re spending all of your energy just to keep from falling behind…

Burnout And Breakthroughs Conference

Now more than ever you need to be still and silent. Now more than ever you need to be patient and receptive. Now more than ever you need to find some way to develop your own knowledge of the world.

Nobody knows how you’re going to make it through this.

Well, maybe someone does.

Bear with me for a moment while we go on a bit of a thought adventure…

Let’s call that person who knows how you make it through this “Future You.”

To make better sense of this let’s assume that “You, Now” are something like the collection of all of your evolutionary and ancestral heritage (your genetic material), as shaped by all of your life experiences thus far (physical and emotional), plus the whole as-yet-unrealized potential of what you could be.

Burnout And Breakthroughs Video

Still with me?

“You, Now” emerged from the past interactions you had with the environment around you, for better for for worse. You’re the result of past choices and experiences smashing into your potential, making something concrete and embodied out of that admittedly abstract blob.

Now Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, had this idea that “Future You” is directing your attention day-to-day toward the things most likely to bring more of that unrealized potential to life.

In this model it does so through inklings, hunches, intuition, etc.

Of course you can drown those out in mindless scrolling, workaholism masquerading as busywork, compulsive consumption of information, or any number of other addictive behaviors.

(Why we do that is a much longer story that I’ll save for another piece. Primarily it’s because it’s scary as hell to trust oneself through a change. That’s a major stressor, and we don’t yet have the resources to cope with such a stressor. “Checking out” therefore seems like a great option.)

But those things are likely what got you into this mess in the first place.

Burnout And Breakthroughs Meaning

The best way forward is to:

Burnout And Breakthroughs Since

  1. Acknowledge that that’s what you’re doing. As body/mind educator Moshe Feldenkrais said, “When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you like.” This acknowledgement and awareness is the defining quality of truly generative action. It’s what gives you agency in your life. You can often start with a simple question: how do I keep myself from getting what I want?

  2. When you’ve gotten honest with yourself and realized what you’re doing, you then have the choice to stop doing it. As frightening as it is you must develop the ability simply to be with yourself. Stop all the “doing” that you’ve been doing, and give yourself an opportunity to do nothing in particular (please don’t confuse this with “doing meditation”). Our nervous systems thrive when we’re alternating between being fully ON or fully OFF. The half-assed, perpetually “kinda there” level of engagement is what keeps people trapped.

  3. From this place you have an opportunity to be with yourself in a new way. You have the context to be receptive toward “Future You” and actually glean something useful. You have the chance to learn something about yourself, possibly even surprise yourself. I’m going to assume that truly surprising yourself or truly learning something about yourself is something you haven’t done for a long, long time. It’s also precisely what’s needed at this crucial juncture.

The greater capacity you have to be with yourself and learn from yourself — regardless of how much a shit show the world around you seems to be — the greater you’ll become.

This is the key difference between burnout and breakthrough.

Burnout involves doing more of the same. And doing it harder, more often than not.

A breakthrough on the other hand emerges from engaging with yourself and the world around you in a whole new way. And it’s only when we cease the old habits and patterns (if only for a moment), that we have space for something new to emerge.