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About This Episode

Burnout is real, but it’s also misunderstood. Burnout comes from constant exposure to emotional and interpersonal stressors at work or at home, or even both! And who fits that bill? Hard working, high-achieving leaders like you, me and everyone listening to this podcast.  People who don’t care rarely get burned out.

 

Joining us this week is Carey Nieuwhof, founder and CEO of Carey Nieuwhof Communications, which produces content and training resources for leaders. He will share wisdom gained from helping millions of leaders online and from his own experience understanding, avoiding, and battling back from burnout.

 

Your One Next Step

Don’t waste any time downloading this week’s activation guide, which is A Leader’s Guide to Battling Burnout and Winning. It’s a collection of Carey Nieuwhof’s best articles and podcasts on burnout with interviews featuring leaders like Dr. Henry Cloud, fab’rik’s CEO Dana Spinola, leadership coach Jo Saxton, and Enneagram guru Ian Morgan Cron. It also includes a link to Carey’s burnout quiz. Go and get it now!

 

Download Now

 

In each episode, we highlight one next step for you and provide an activation or delegation guide to help you immediately take action, start applying what you learn, and get your team to help you.

1. Growth is not a virtue.

Overachievers want to crush everything in our sight – grow the business, grow the profit, add to the staff. But, with that, we have to learn to say “no” sometimes. It’s easy to overwork when you love what you do. It doesn’t feel like work at all! But that can be short-sighted. Sometimes, it’s better to stop, look how far you’ve come, and take a rest. Otherwise, you could be on the fast road to burnout.

2. Do what you’re best at during the best time of your day.

Sometimes we take our gifts for granted. We focus on the other stuff and just wing it when it comes to doing the stuff we’re best at. But, using Carey’s methods, find your “green zone” – the 3 to 5 most productive hours of your day – and focus on your strengths during those times. Spending your best hours on things that you don’t enjoy can be draining, which over time will lead to burnout. Don’t misunderstand: Part of being a leader means, sometimes, you have to do things you don’t like. But, bottom line, don’t cheat your gift. 

3. When it comes to the reasons for your burnout, go deep.

It might get messy, but that’s okay. Are you burning out because of a desire to overachieve? To prove yourself to others? What is the root cause of those feelings? Pride? Ego? Don’t underestimate the value of talking with someone, even a professional counselor, about the “why” behind what is draining you and pushing you to burnout. If you can’t find balance, that’s a sign that something needs to change.

Have you ever experienced burnout? Or what’s the closest you’ve come to experiencing it? What was it like for you emotionally and physically?
What is your best, most productive time of the day to work? How would rearranging your schedule (for example: no meetings during that time) affect your overall productivity? To help, relisten to or reflect on what Carey said about “categorical decision making.”
What do you believe are some of the false ideas or misleading perceptions leaders have that might eventually lead them to burnout? Where do you think those ideas come from?

Live in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow.

Carey Nieuwhof

Growth is a byproduct. Growth itself is not a virtue.

Carey Nieuwhof

You only go as far as you go deep.

Carey Nieuwhof

The key to avoiding burnout is learning how to say no nicely.

Carey Nieuwhof

When your passion goes down on all channels, for all things, that's an alarm that you need to pay attention to.

Carey Nieuwhof

(00:01) How to win this week’s giveaway – Principles – Ray Dalio and a $25 Amazon gift card.

(05:49)  Carey Nieuwhof introduces himself and talks about his background.

(06:57) How does Carey define burnout? And how do you know if you’re experiencing it?

(10:31) What was Carey’s experience with burnout like 10 years ago?

(14:47) Why is burnout so common among high performers?

(15:43) “Growth is not a virtue.”

(15:50) The importance of energy management.You have 3 to 5 productive hours in a day. 

(17:52) How focusing on the one or two things you are best at relates to managing your energy level. Don’t cheat your gift. 

(21:34) Carey elaborates on how “categorical decision making” has changed his approach to working.

(24:02) “Bad things happen by accident.” You have to be intentional. 

(26:54) Carey talks about one important thing you can do to begin recovering from burnout. 

(31:04) The alternative to overcoming burnout is building a life you want to escape from.

(35:50) Today’s One Next Step: Download A Leader’s Guide to Battling Burnout and Winning. It’s a collection of Carey Nieuwhof’s best articles and podcasts on burnout with interviews featuring leaders like Dr. Henry Cloud, fab’rik’s CEO Dana Spinola, leadership coach Jo Saxton, and Enneagram guru Ian Morgan Cron. It also includes a link to Carey’s burnout quiz.

Carey Nieuwhof:

… And if you got two or three of those symptoms, welcome to life, especially life in this era. If you got five or six, you might be suffering from mid-grade burnout, which I think a lot of people are. But for me, my body just basically went on strike. It just said, “You can’t do this anymore. I’m shutting down. We are not going to play like this anymore,” and so it really took me out of the game.


Speaker 2:

Welcome to One Next Step, the most practical business podcast in the world, helping you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with confidence with tips and tools you didn’t get in business school. Here are your hosts, Tricia Sciortino and Lisa Zeeveld.


Tricia Sciortino:

Welcome to One Next Step, the practical business podcast that helps you run your business and make it stop running you so you can enjoy your work and your life. I’m Tricia Sciortino, the CEO of BELAY.


Lisa Zeeveld:

I’m Lisa Zeeveld, the COO of BELAY. Together, we’re T and LZ. We’ve known each other since 2005 and we’ve had the privilege of working together now for almost a decade. We’ve grown a 100% remote business from startup to being recognized on the Inc. 5,000 fastest growing companies list for six years running.


Tricia Sciortino:

Yes, LZ and I have learned a lot along the way and we have made some great friends and partners. For the One Next Step, we are cashing in some favors to bring you episodes filled with excellent content delivered by some talented people and we may have a thing or two to add ourselves. The One Next Step is here to help you on your leadership journey.


Lisa Zeeveld:

Each week, we release a new episode, answering your questions about running an organization. We’ll always highlight one next step for you to take immediate action and include an activation guide that reinforces what you’ve heard today.


Tricia Sciortino:

We’re excited today to talk to you about how to beat burnout, and we’ll be joined by Carey Nieuwhof, founder and CEO of Carey Nieuwhof Communications, which produces content and training resources for leaders. He will share wisdom gained from helping millions of leaders online and from his own experience battling back from burnout.


Lisa Zeeveld:

Burnout is real, but it’s also misunderstood. Burnout comes from constant exposure to emotional and interpersonal stressors at work or at home or how about both of those and who fits the bill? Hardworking, high achievings like you and me and everyone listening to this podcast. People who don’t care rarely get burned out. As Dr. Laura Hamill of the Limeade Institute wrote, “You have to first be on fire in order to be burnt out.” This is why burnout is so prevalent among the best and the biggest leaders. Burnout typically occurs when high-performing people have increasingly low wellbeing. So in this episode, we will learn how to understand, avoid and overcome burnout.


Tricia Sciortino:

Before we hear today’s podcast, let’s talk about burnout. We’re all busy, but there is no great, not even any good that comes from burning the candle at both ends. At the end of this episode, your One Next Step will be a download called A Leader’s Guide to Battling Burnout and Winning.


Lisa Zeeveld:

It’s a collection of Carey Nieuwhof best articles and podcasts on burnout with interviews featuring leaders like Dr. Henry Cloud, fa’brik CEO, Dana Spinola, Leadership Coach, Joe Saxton and Enneagram guru, Ian Morgan Cron, and a bonus. It also includes a link to Carey’s burnout quiz. So stick around for how you can get access. Our guest today, Cary Nieuwhof, knows how it feels to be burnt out because he experienced it over 10 years ago while leading a growing church in Canada, but he also overcame it. So today, he’ll help us avoid a few pitfalls that lead to burnout and speak to people who feel like perhaps they’re just right there on the edge.


Tricia Sciortino:

Carey speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change and personal growth. He writes one of today’s most widely-read Christian leadership blogs at www.careynieuwhof.com and hosts the top rated Carey Nieuhof Leadership Podcast. He’s also the author of several best-selling books, including his latest, Didn’t See it Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects but Everyone Experiences, which you will find in the show notes at onenextsteppodcast.com. Now here’s our interview with Carey Nieuwhof. Welcome, Carey. Thank you for joining us today on the podcast. We’re so happy to have you with us today.


Carey Nieuwhof:

So great to be with you, Tricia and Lisa. Thanks so much for having me. It’s good to be together again.


Tricia Sciortino:

So good to see. It’s been awhile. So there’s so many things you can talk to us about today, but we’re going to talk about burnout. Before we get there, though, I would love if you would just tell us a little bit about yourself and your story before we kind of jump into the topic at hand.


Carey Nieuwhof:

Yeah, sure. So I’m a husband and dad, been married to my wife for three decades and I have two boys who are in their 20s now, both kind of launched into life. So one’s a software engineer one’s an accountant by training and actually, the younger one works with me. So in my company, these days I work full-time on equipping leaders, a little communications company. So I’m a podcaster, speaker, author working on my fifth book and we serve about a million-and-a-half leaders a month online, which is awesome. We love being able to do it. The mission is to help people thrive in life and leadership. I’m also a pastor by training and vocation, so I’m now founding pastor and for two decades, was lead pastor of Connexus Church but handed that off five years ago in a succession plan, so I’m focused full-time on leaders these days.


Lisa Zeeveld:

That’s awesome. Well, you sound pretty busy and so today, we’ve asked you to join us to talk a little bit about burnout. You’ve done a lot and you see a lot of leaders, you help a lot of leaders, like you said, to thrive. So I just want to start out by kind of jumping right in and saying how do you define burnout?


Carey Nieuwhof:

I’m pretty good at it. I burned out when I was doing a lot less.


Tricia Sciortino:

Burned out in my 20s, burned out in my 30s, burned out in my 40s. I’d like to avoid the burnout in my 50s.


Carey Nieuwhof:

If somebody showed me what I was going to be doing in my 50s, I’d be like, “There’s no way you can do that all,” but I learned my lesson the hard way. So burnout for me, this is not a medical definition, I actually increasingly believe that burnout happens really on a scale. If you think about it as a scale of 1 to 10 and I’ve identified 11 symptoms, I’ll go through a few of them, but it’s not medical. So I’m not a medical doctor, not a clinical psychologist, anything like that. But these are things that I’ve seen in myself, seen in other leaders, so a loss of passion. I’m a pretty passionate person and when I burned out, I really lost my passion, not just for one thing. Sometimes you’re like, “Yeah, I used to be passionate about cycling or something and I’m not anymore.”


Carey Nieuwhof:

That’s pretty normal, but when your passion goes down on all channels, for all things, that’s an alarm that you need to pay attention to. Another would be flat emotions, so your emotions go really crazy when you’re burned out. Either you’re totally numb and you don’t feel anything or sometimes you’ll be in this numb coma, but then every once in a while just get absolutely livid about something that you shouldn’t be mad about or your emotions are backwards. So something good happens, but you don’t really feel it and something bad happens, but you’re kind of glad it happened and it’s like, “Whoa, my emotions are not working well.” So your emotions get all crazy. For me, real drop in productivity. I am pretty productive at the best of times or at the worst of times. When I was burned out, I just couldn’t accomplish much at all, inability to think straight, just this mental fog that never really lifted, didn’t laugh anymore. I’m an Enneagram 8 with a 7-wing, so nothing was funny anymore and I wasn’t fun.


Tricia Sciortino:

I can relate. I’m an 8, 7- wing


Carey Nieuwhof:

There you go, exactly the same profile. So you like the have fun, right?

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes. Yes. If I’m not laughing, something’s wrong if I can’t find a giggle in my day.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Exactly. Well that disappeared entirely for me and those were really concerning. There are other symptoms as well. Another big one, and I’ll just leave it here, but rest and sleep no longer refuel you, so you’ve lost the cause and effect. So you take a vacation, but you don’t feel better. I took three weeks off the summer I burned out thinking, “Okay, this is going to solve it,” did not solve it. I was worse when I finished then, and it wasn’t like I was busy. I wasn’t that busy, I just wasn’t good. So there should be a cause and effect and you know that. Sometimes you’re in a really full season, it’s like two or three nights you need to really recharge. But there is that, “Okay. I put in the investment. I slept. I rested. I took time off, now I feel better when that cause and effect leaves.”

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

So I’ve got a list of 11 symptoms on my blog that I’ve shared with a lot of leaders and I think you guys are going to link to my burnout quiz. If you’ve got two or three of those symptoms, welcome to life, especially life in this era. You’re going to be battling one or two of those every once in a while. If you’ve got five or six, you might be suffering from mid-grade burnout, which I think a lot of people are. But for me, when I was 11 for 11, that is my body just basically went on strike. It just said, “You can’t do this anymore. I’m shutting down. We are not going to play like this anymore,” and so it really took me out of the game.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Well, you kind of teed it up and started to share a little bit about that you experienced this. So would you mind if we just got really vulnerable and transparent and you share kind of what your experience with burnout was?

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Yeah, it was the most painful experience of my life and it happened to me when I was around 40, maybe 41. I’d been in school a long time, so high school and then three university degrees. So I have a degree in history and political science, law, full law thing, got called to the Bar, the whole deal and then went into seminary. So it took me a long time to be done. So I started full-time leadership at 30 in the church and we started to grow really quickly. We became the fastest growing church in the country in our denomination, I’m Canadian, and one of the larger ones in the country and I just didn’t know how to keep up with growth. We started with a half dozen people. The church would have fit right here in my office, very comfortably.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

We grew to about six, 700 by the time I burned out and it was a pretty rapid rise. Because we didn’t have a lot of peers, and I didn’t know a lot of people who led churches that size, I know that’s not particularly big for America, but for Canada, I felt like I was going solo. We were starting to attract national attention. I couldn’t really keep up. We were adding staff. I didn’t know how to lead staff. Our marriage was not in a great place at that time and my kids were getting into very active years, so it was like, go, go, go, go, go. Then my formula was more people equals more hours and it’s really confusing. When you lead a church, because I was in law for a few years, in law it’s like, “Oh, it’s just a job, so you can leave it and go home. I guess if they fire me, they fire me.”

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

But there’s so much that is fused with your identity as a pastor. It’s like, “Well, I’m a Christian, but I’m also a pastor,” and so it got really confusing. I felt like if I stepped back from my duties at church, it would be unfaithful. So it was really, really confusing. Then for years, I had people telling me I was going to burn out and I didn’t believe them because I thought being an Enneagram 8, I was smarter than that. I was better than that. I was stronger than that and we do. This is the challenge, right?-

 

Tricia Sciortino:

If you can run that fast?

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Yeah. I wake up with 200% battery life and so it’s just like, “Well, I’ll just keep going.” Then eventually, in May of 2006, it just kind of all shut down and I couldn’t believe it. I thought, “Okay, I had a bad day and I’m not very passionate and I’m really exhausted,” and then it just wouldn’t go away. All that cause and effect, all the stuff that I would normally do to get better, stopped working, so my body went on strike. I never got a clinical diagnosis for depression, but my wife’s got a medical background as a pharmacist. She’s pretty sure that I was clinically depressed and it was awful. It was so dark. I’m an optimist. I’d grown cynical. That’s another sign of burnout and I kind of thought it was over.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

Wow. That’s heavy.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

That is and I’m sure so many people can relate to that, especially right now-

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Especially right now-

 

Tricia Sciortino:

… in the world today. I bet there’s more people today that can relate to your story.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

It’s hard. I look at my newsfeed right now and even social has gotten so dark and I’m like, “Okay, that’s enough,” but it doesn’t kill my soul. It doesn’t corrode my soul. I’m bothered by it, but I kind of felt like the year 2020 has felt. That was my interior journey back in 2006. It was just everywhere you looked was negative. This is the weird part, sometimes people fall into burnout or depression because things are really going badly. They were not going badly. We were seeing people baptized. Our church was growing. I had a great wife, great kids. Now I wasn’t getting along with my wife at that time, but on the outside everything was great, but on the inside it was imploding and that makes you even feel guilty or bizarre because you’re like, “Okay, well, if all this bad stuff happened, then it explains it,” but like, “Nope.” Burnout just kind of took me out.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Yeah. So why do you think it’s so common amongst top performers? So how do people end up with their worsening wellbeing as they’re pushing to grow organizations to new heights? What are we trying to do?

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

It’s great. I think it’s like Icarus, we’re getting a little too close to the sun.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

That’s good.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Some of that’s ambition. Some of that’s pride for sure. That was part of my journey and then a lot of it is a really bad formula. Sometimes our motivations aren’t great, like often even in ministry. A pastor’s motivation isn’t always pure. Some of it’s ego, some of it’s insecurity. So you got to wade through all of that. I went to a lot of counseling to work through that junk and it’s still a daily battle. I have to make sure because on the days I don’t surrender, it can be about my ego. It can be all the right things for all the wrong reasons and so that can be the case. Growth is not a virtue and I’m kind of addicted to growth. I love things that I lead to be growing, but growth itself is not a virtue.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

I think I just needed to hear that.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

I know. That was kind of a really.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

I think I just needed to hear that, that growth is not a virtue. Thank you for sharing. Yes.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

It should be a byproduct. You’re serving enough people with what your company does, you’re serving enough people and helping. It’s the old Zig Ziglar thing, “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll eventually get what you want.” But sometimes Simon Sineck, I’m just finishing up The Infinite Game. It’s such a good book. He just talks about the problem with that finite game where it’s zero sum game, you win, you lose. So I think some of that is there and then the formula is bad. So I had gotten okay at time management when I was in my 30s, but I did not understand energy management or priority management and so actually, that’s my new book. I’m literally in the final edits right now as we record this interview. It’ll be out in September of 2021, but I began to realize that energy management was going to be a really important thing for me to pay attention to because I had no energy left and I’ve taught this to your company.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

I was going to say, you have a course as well. You have a-

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

I have a course-

 

Tricia Sciortino:

… course on managing your energy and time and we here at BELAY, our leadership team went through your course.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Thank you for that and that’ll now be in book form, in a much more expanded form. So that’s going in my next book, but right? It’s that principle that you kind of have three to five productive hours in a day and you guys are very fortunate. You can tell how much I esteem you because I allowed you to book something in my most productive hours of the day.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

We’re honored. We’re honored.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

No, but you know what? It’s one of those things like, think about it, right? When do you start to drag in the day because everyone’s a little bit different, but where you’re like, “Oh, I have a meeting and I hope I stay awake for it.” What time of day is that for you guys?

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Three o’clock.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Three o’clock.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

3:00 PM.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

How about you Lisa?

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

I’m kind of a late morning kind of gal. So I’ve got a lot of energy first thing and then towards lunch, I think mine’s around food. I really like to eat.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

So by 11:30, you’re like, “Oh.”

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah, and it was interesting when we went through this course as a leadership team and we compared each other’s energy levels and times, it was quite eye-opening. We did make some changes when we’re all together as a group so that each leader is showing up as their best in that moment.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Isn’t that interesting? So in the book version, I divide the day into what I call green, yellow and red zones, which are pretty easy. It’s like once your energy at your peak, it’s like a green light. Green means go. Red is like, “Oh my goodness. Where’s the nearest bed? I need to get a nap right now,” or, “I need some more caffeine. I need a massive injection, an IV drip of caffeine.” Yellow is the in between and we live a lot of our in between. We’re not at our best, but it’s not terrible. What I started to do was apply the Pareto Principle of, “I’m only really good at a couple of things.” When I was in my 20s, I thought I was great at everything. Now that I’m in my 50s, I’m like, “No, you’re really a communicator, that’s it. You should be writing or preaching or whatever you’re doing, speaking.”

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

So I’m not very good at stuff, but what you do is you end up cheating your gift. So I would say my principle gifting is communication and because it’s your principal gifting, you can do it really well. I imagine one of you, maybe both of you, you’re pretty good at spreadsheets and P&Ls and balance sheets. If I’m like, “Hey, can you get this together for the meeting?” You’d be like, “Oh yeah, I’ll just whip that together.” Well, that’d be like a 12-day project for me and it would be long. But for me, if you’re like, “Hey, our staff is meeting at dinner tonight. Could you give them a quick 30-minute pep talk and write something from scratch?” I could probably do that by lunch today. It’s not that hard. Get a few bullet points together and wing it.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

The problem is, in your area of gifting, that’s what you do is you wing it. So what I did was I took what I was best at and started doing it when I’m at my best. So I give my peak energy to writing and editing and preparing because that’s what moves the needle in the company. That’s what moves the needle in my ministry and when I started doing that, it sort of like slay your dragons before breakfast. It’s like, “Okay, if I got my message together and I’ve got my most important content together, then by 10:00 AM, I kind of won the day. Like, “Yes, I can do the email later,” and, “Yes, I can do some other things later.”

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

But when I made those changes and started paying attention to my energy levels and not competing with them, but cooperating with them, that’s when everything really started to change for me. Then, I had to get really good at saying no because even today, I’ve said no three times to speaking opportunities. For most leaders who would listen to a podcast like this, the opportunities available exceed the time available and that’s a challenge, right? A lot of us are people pleasers, so I was really bad at saying no in my 30s. So on the other side of burnout, I learned how to say no nicely.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

That’s just a perfect answer or the beginning of what becomes an answer of avoiding burnout.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Well, because you can’t do everything. It’s what Greg McKeown says, “You can do anything. You just can’t do everything,” So you got to choose. So I developed this whole system, which you guys have trained your team in and I’m developing and refining even further to help leaders figure out, “Okay, what am I best at? When am I at my best? How do I say no?” I’ve learned something called categorical decision-making because life is a million different decisions. So this wasn’t in the course, it’ll be in the book. But categorical decision-making is like sometimes you can eliminate whole categories of things from your life, so one decision that makes a thousand decisions for you. For example, I don’t do breakfast meetings anymore. I used to do them a lot, but they were in my green zone, so I just eliminated breakfast meetings. So now if anyone asks for a breakfast meeting the answer generally is no.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

You don’t have to make a decision.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

One decision makes a thousand decisions. We have criteria for the speaking engagements that I accept and the ones that I don’t accept. So my team can pretty much predict now and we’re like, “Well, this will be a no,” and we just kind of know. That way you’re not looking at everything idiosyncratically, you’re looking at it categorically and that helps. I don’t do weddings. I’m a pastor. I don’t do weddings. Now I haven’t done any in 2020, COVID helps with that, but it would be family or staff. Well, I don’t have that many family and I don’t have that many staff. So if a niece wants to get married, of course, I’m going to be participating in her wedding.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

I did my assistant’s wedding, but I don’t have 196 assistants. I have one or two. So if you’re in that inner circle, of course, I’m going to help you out, but it just makes it really easy. Then it’s easy for the team who can just say, “I’m sorry, he doesn’t do weddings.” Then it’s like, “Oh, but these people do.” So categorical decision-making and everybody’s decisions will be different, but what kind of meetings do you take? How long are those meetings? What are your criteria for saying yes to? Who are the most important people in your circle, because they should have access to you?

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

So we worked through all that stuff and that’s made it a lot easier. Of course as we started by saying I’m probably leading 10 times what I led when I burned out, but I’m doing it with margin. At 3:00 this afternoon, I’m going out on my bike for a 90-minute ride. Then I’m going to barbecue something, grill something for my family and then my son’s coming over tonight. We’re going to hang out and set something up together. I’m getting more done than ever and have more time off than ever. It’s kind of weird.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

I think that probably sounds like a dream to most of our leaders listening right now. They can’t even fathom doing that, so I love how you talked about energy. To me, it kind of comes down to a lot of intentionality.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Yes.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

It’s the ideal workweek. It’s managing the intentionality. It’s looking at categorizing those decisions and in turn, reducing the burnout.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Well, bad things happen by accident, right, so it has to be intentional.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yes.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Your life never drifts to a better place; it only drifts to the worse place. I don’t want to overstate. Do I have challenging seasons? Yes, I have challenging seasons, but that’s the nature of leadership. You think of most of the leaders who are listening to this podcast, they’re leading, growth has its challenges. Decline has its challenges. The demands of the day are bigger than the time available in the day and so it’s always drifting toward bad. It’s never drifting toward good, so you have to be super intentional and sometimes you get the categories wrong and then when you realize, “I probably should have said yes to that.” Well, you can go back, or “I probably should’ve said no to that,” I’m more often in the, “I should have said no, but I said, yes. Why did I say yes?” we talk about it as a team. You’ve been there. You’ve lived there. It’s like you look at your calendar and you’re like, “Why did I say yes this?”

 

Tricia Sciortino:

What am I doing?

 

Tricia Sciortino:

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Lisa Zeeveld:

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Tricia Sciortino:

So we consider ourself the most practical business podcast in the world. So one thing we like to do on our podcast is really talk about one practical next thing that somebody can do. So if you could offer what is One Next Step somebody can take to recover from burnout? If somebody is burnt out today and they’re feeling some of those things you talked about, some of those 11 things, what is one practical step they can take today, right now, when they’re listening to this to step out of that burnout mode? If you could tell them to do one thing, what would that be?

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Well, if you’re like me, you’re going to hate this, but I’m going to give you the advice anyway. Go deep. Go deep. There’s some personal stuff that is driving your dysfunctional behavior, that’s driving your desire to say yes, that’s driving your desire to over commit. I had to unpack it. I invested thousands of dollars and probably hundreds of hours in coaches, in counselors and for my own faith, tradition and prayer and mentors and kind of got to the bottom and it’s a gooey bottom. It’s not pleasant and you see stuff about yourself that you don’t really like. But the good news is, there was a point in the summer of 2006 where I had really lost hope. I remember being at the counselor’s office and he said, “Carey, do you remember how you feel?” “I know how I feel. There’s no hope. There’s no sunlight on the horizon.”

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

He just said, “I want you to remember this,” he said, “because you’re going to get out of this.” I don’t know how he knew I was going to get out of this because I thought this was my life, like I had wrecked it. He goes, “But I want you to remember this because this is how some people feel and some people will not get out of it.” So I just want to encourage you. I coached a really good friend of mine about five years ago. He came up here and he had just turned 50 and his dad had died and he was burning out and he took a 30-day sabbatical. Halfway through the sabbatical, he flew up, he’s from Atlanta, he flew up here to Toronto where I am to hang out with me and spend some time with me.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

I remember meeting him and he’s like, “Carey, I’m so frustrated. I’m 15 days into my sabbatical and I don’t think I’m better. I’m still burned out.” I have permission to tell his story publicly. I’m like, “Jeff, I don’t think it works that way, man. If God wants to take you far, he’s going to take you deep. So you only go as far as you go deep.” So I would say, that’s tell somebody, go see a counselor and maybe go see your doctor and go get some help. Perhaps I didn’t take any medication, but perhaps you need some medication, but you have to go underneath that because you can’t just treat the symptom. You’ve got to get to the problem.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

I’m a fan of medication. I think it’s very, very good, but to simply take the edge off the pain, why don’t you get to the root of the pain, figure out what’s driving that dysfunctional behavior? Then the hope is, I’m 55, man, there’s a lot of life left at 55. I feel better than I did at 35, I’ll tell you that. Hopefully, I’ve got a couple of decades left, maybe three decades left to make a contribution and so it’s not over. Life isn’t over. You got a lot of good years ahead of you and a lot of good time. The relationship you have with your adult children can be very rich or your marriage can get better, so I’d go digging because if God wants to take you far, he’s going to want to go deep.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

That’s awesome. I love that and I love the analogy. I kind of make up my own here, but it’s not just turning off the engine light, right? We’re all driving our car, the engine light comes on.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Disable that light, right?

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah. Yes. Right. You just can’t disable it you got to find out what’s actually happening in your engine. Also, I love the fact that you said it’s okay to take medicine. It’s okay to talk to people. This is not about a weakness thing. It’s not because you’re not a competent leader. It’s none of those things. It really does happen to the best of us. It happens to the best leaders and take the time to dig deep, get to the gooey bottom and get rest.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

When is that a bad thing? If you really go deep, if you get into what are some of the childhood things and what are some of the drivers that are not healthy, that just spreads into your whole life? Your friendships are better, your marriage, if you’re married, is better, your parenting is better. I think I’m a better boss. We have a great team and I really enjoy working with them and most days, I wake up really excited about what I get to do with a bounce in my step. So there’s a better future because here’s the alternative, right? We all build lives we want to escape from and so your escape is on the weekends.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

Your escape is binging on Netflix. It’s like, “I’m so glad work is done.” For entrepreneurs, you worked a 15-hour day and you just want that one hour of Netflix before you go to bed or you’re drinking too much or you’re living for the vacation. A great vacation or sabbatical can’t make up for a pathetic life, so you got to take steps to make it better. The mantra I’ve sort of had for the last 15 years is, “Live in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow.” So I try to do that and that’s why I got the 3:30 bike ride today, why my son’s coming over and I’m going to ship on the stuff that’s really important.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

That’s awesome. Well, that’s a great place to end. So thank you so much, Carey, for just imparting this wisdom on our leaders who are listening today and our team members and just encouraging them to take time out and hopefully to avoid burnout, but if they’re in burnout right now to seek some help. So thank you so much for joining us and for allowing us to use some of your green space.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

I know. Thank you, you for your green time. Thank you, Carey.

 

Carey Nieuwhof:

You guys, thank you so much for all that you do. I really appreciate you. Thanks, Lisa. Thanks, Tricia. I really appreciate you both.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Thanks, Carey.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

Okay. Carey had so much good stuff. I hated to end the conversation. I felt like we could talk for another 30 minutes or so. So while I’m processing all that goodness, I would love to hear what is your takeaway?

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes. You know what? He actually surprised me at the end there, when I asked him what was a practical tip he would give somebody who was sitting through burnout. I thought he was going to give some practical advice about reworking an ideal work week or realigning your energy. What I love so much about his answer was he really talked about going deep and getting to the core reason, which really struck home with me. You’re probably burning out because you have some desire to overachieve and where does that come from? What is the root cause that is really propelling you to take on too many things, say yes to all the things and kind of be out of balance. Is it ego? Is it pride? What are those things that are underneath the surface? I really loved that that was his answer to that question. So that was it for me.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

No shutting off the check engine light, go deep, find out what the real diagnostic is to why you’re burning out. That’s really good. Obviously, from my excitement level, I think when he said, “Growth is not a virtue,” I was like, “Ouch.” That kind of hurts.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

I know. How could it not be?

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

I think that for those of us who we’re overachievers, I may not be an Enneagram 8. I’m a 1, which we’re very similar for those of you who follow along for Enneagram. Without Enneagram, I’m definitely an overachiever. I want to crush every goal that’s out there. I want to grow our business. Basically, I just want to grow everything we touch. So with that, it does mean that I have a hard time saying no, it’s very easy for me to quote/unquote overwork. I think part of it is because I love what I do. I am that person. Yesterday we did it, me and you, T. We were talking about growth and I sat down and just cranked out a spreadsheet and did some quick formulas, totally made my day. I don’t get to do that very often anymore, but I love what I do.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

So it’s really easy for me just to continue to work and see growth as a virtue. But I think that’s short-sighted of me because just because you love what you do and you’re an overachiever doesn’t mean that you’re not eventually going to need to take a break and you’re going to go through burnout. So I think that, although I may not be feeling all 11 symptoms that he talked about, I think I do definitely feel a couple at a time and it’s good to be mindful and watch that. So I don’t get to that place of feeling burnout. So it’s just really good stuff. All right. Well, you know what time it is, right, T?

 

Tricia Sciortino:

I know what time it is. Hammer time?

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

MC Hammer. I loved him. I want some hammer pants. But as the most practical business podcast, we want to make sure that taking action isn’t overwhelming to you. So each episode we’re going to offer you one next step to propel you and your business forward. Today’s next step is let’s say, it’s actually going to focus on you and that’s to download the activation guide, which is a leader’s guide to battling burnout and winning. It’s a collection of Carey Nieuwhof’s best articles and podcasts on burnouts with interviews, featuring leaders like Dr. Henry Cloud, fa’brik CEO, Dana Spinola, Leadership Coach, Joe Saxton, an Enneagram guru, Ian Morgan Cron.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Awesome. So to download it, now, text the phrase one next step to 31996 or visit onenextsteppodcast.com. When you request today’s guide, you’re also going to receive a summary of today’s episode, which includes key quotes and takeaways and links to resources mentioned in the episode.

 

Lisa Zeeveld:

So thank you so much for listening to this episode. We hope you enjoyed it and that you will join next time for more practical tips and actionable tools to advance your business one step at a time.

 

Tricia Sciortino:

Until next time, own your journey. It’s your life and your business. It’s up to you to create the life and organization you want, so start by making today count.

 

Speaker 2:

Thanks for listening to One Next Step. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or follow us on Spotify. Then, join us next time for more practical business tips and tools to help you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with confidence. For more episodes, show notes and helpful resources, visit onenextsteppodcast.com.

Don’t waste any time downloading this week’s activation guide, which is A Leader’s Guide to Battling Burnout and Winning. It’s a collection of Carey Nieuwhof’s best articles and podcasts on burnout with interviews featuring leaders like Dr. Henry Cloud, fab’rik’s CEO Dana Spinola, leadership coach Jo Saxton, and Enneagram guru Ian Morgan Cron. It also includes a link to Carey’s burnout quiz. Go and get it now!

 

Download Now

 

In each episode, we highlight one next step for you and provide an activation or delegation guide to help you immediately take action, start applying what you learn, and get your team to help you.

Win a Free Book!

Each week for the rest of the year, Tricia and LZ will be going back and forth giving away a copy of one of their favorite books. 2020 was quite the year, so we want to help you and someone you care about to get a head start going into the new year.  

This week we are giving away one of my top picks which is Principles by Ray Dalio and a $25 Amazon gift card.  To be entered to win, you need to:

  • Follow Tricia and LZ on Instagram (@triciasciortino and @lisazeeveld)
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If you want to earn some extra credit, share their Instagram post in your story and tag @belaysolutions, @triciasciortino, and @lisazeeveld for an additional chance to win. 

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Join Us Next Week

Thank you for listening to One Next Step.

Join us for next week’s Masterclass episode when Tricia and Lisa will talk about how to use each other’s differences to work better together. In order to win, you must work well with others who don’t think or process the way you do. And whether you are working from home or back in an office setting, the key is putting forth the effort to learn how to work together, even if that’s using helpful resources like the Enneagram. Next week we’ll have an in-depth discussion on how we learned to use our differences to our advantage.