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When You Don’t Fit at Work: Are You and Your Work Environment Mismatched?

At Burnout Solutions, we spend most of our time looking at what you, personally, can do to enjoy life and work again.  It is certainly true, however, that some of the stressors that lead to burnout are external --- you didn't cause them or control them.  Two very famous researchers on burnout point out that the stressful part of these situations can be the poor fit between our own needs and what the organization demands. In our book we discuss this concept of fit. Here's an excerpt, including a quick assessment you can do to evaluate for yourself  how well you and your workplace fit together.  Finally, we offer some quick suggestions on non-work areas which may also need your attention, in regards to fit. What are the external factors that lead to burnout? Research has shown that in the workplace, there are six types of stressful situations most likely to lead [...]

By |2019-01-23T04:40:01+00:00January 21st, 2019|General|0 Comments

Caution! “Every Day Is a New Day” May Be a Dangerous Attitude

This kind of advice can be dangerous stuff: Be professional - shrug it off! Don't let them see you sweat. Keep your game face on. Treat every day as a new day. For example, Anastasia, a teacher, told me,  "I want what I do to make a difference every day! (But I'm afraid that I am not making any difference at all!)" Her solution? "Suck it up, put on that game face, and treat every day as a new day." Here's why I believe, for all of us, that approach adds emotional overload to your daily stress burden.  Simply said:  "treat every day as a new day" sidesteps the emotional meaning in the difficult parts of your day. What do I mean by sidestep?  I mean squashing or stuffing down or ignoring our own distress.  I mean, we pretend, as hard as we can, that those feelings don't exist, or don't [...]

By |2019-01-13T22:23:12+00:00September 25th, 2018|General|0 Comments

Is That Pesky Monkey on Your Back Really Yours?

A monkey on your back is a problem you have to solve or a task you have to do. Is your back bent under the weight of all the monkeys on your back? Photo by TJ Kolesnik on Unsplash If so, you’ll benefit from building this spine-stiffening muscle: The ability to gracefully but firmly hand back errant monkeys. Even if you’re ultimately responsible for the care and feeding of a particular monkey, today’s problem with the little beast may not belong to you. Because getting clear about monkey ownership is such a key anti-burnout skill, I highly recommend this lively little book. It teaches how to manage your monkey zoo with real-world examples from the realms of work, home, and volunteering. Here’s how Ken Blanchard sums up the problem: When a person goes to the boss with a problem and the boss agrees to do something about it, the [...]

By |2019-01-13T22:22:36+00:00May 17th, 2018|General|0 Comments

Afraid You’re Not Doing Enough?

Photo by George Bonev on Unsplash “There’s been a lot of big changes at work -- everything’s blowing up at once. buIt's too much for me. I really, really, really need to cut down on my constant availability. But I feel guilty even thinking that, when everyone around me is so stressed, too! I feel like I'm not doing enough.” my client told me this week. If you’re like this very admirable and effective client of mine, you’ve got a LOT on your plate. We get overwhelmed, stressed out, even burned out… but we feel selfish and small when we even consider putting our own needs first. GUILT! But… is that really Guilt? And whatever you call it, what can you do about it? I am a big fan of Brené Brown. She sees an important difference between Guilt and Shame. Guilt, she says, is a valuable (if [...]

By |2019-01-13T22:24:14+00:00May 9th, 2018|General|1 Comment

What You Measure is What You Get — and There’s Only One You

Are you holding yourself to an impossible standard?  How do you set priorities among everything you do and want? What you measure is what you get, so be very careful what you measure. There’s Only One You Usually, the phrase “there’s only one you” is a tag line in great feel-good movies that remind us that our own uniqueness is precious. There’s another side to that phrase, though. My overwhelmed, stressed-out clients carefully partition your to-do lists among “work” and “family” and “volunteer/church” responsibilities. Many of us tend to create strong mental walls between those to-do lists. Of course, whenever we can fully focus on one sphere of responsibilities at a time, we are much more likely to be productive in that sphere. That’s a no-brainer. Nevertheless, all those responsibilities are being carried by the SAME PERSON. You. There’s only one you.  And if that “you” is doing your best [...]

By |2019-01-13T22:25:01+00:00May 3rd, 2018|General|0 Comments

What Are You Modeling on This Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day?

Overwork and Stress? or Commitment and Joy? On this Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day – what values will you be modeling for the kids? They say kids learn much more from how we behave than from what we tell them in words. What was my daughter learning from my behavior? “I don’t ever want to be a mommy when I grow up,” my 5-year-old daughter calmly announced. “Why, honey?” “Because mommies are too tired.” I felt like my little girl had punched me in the gut. "Mommies are too tired." Truly, I’m not sure the phrase “too tired” was strong enough for how I felt, all the time. I was working full-time as a health-care provider. I was pregnant with my second. And, of course, other issues on the home front demanded my attention (aren’t there ALWAYS “other issues” on the home front?) I was sure I [...]

By |2019-01-13T23:15:34+00:00April 25th, 2018|General|0 Comments

Spread Too Thin?

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter spread over too much bread.” ─ Frodo, The Fellowship of the Rings, J. R. R Tolkien Here's a quick suggestion for relieving that uneasy, exhausted, spread-too-thin feeling. (Perhaps you even recognized the quote: Frodo was struggling to carry out a world-saving task that seemed far too big for his little hobbit body. More and more, he felt not just bone-tired, but soul-weary.) Relief for That "Spread Too Thin" Feeling Yesterday, a super-productive friend made me think of Frodo. She asked, “LinkedIn is having a big debate about whether people should use the phrase “I’m so busy” anymore. I found it very upsetting; it sounds like they are saying just don’t talk about the problem anymore. What’s your take on this?” Well, people certainly shared lots of good ideas in the #ImSoBusy debate. Here’s just a few: People might not share opportunities (for work [...]

By |2019-01-13T22:27:01+00:00April 10th, 2018|General|0 Comments

8 Ways Burnout Is Overrated

Here’s 8 ways burnout is overrated by our work culture. I believe that buying into any of these myths simply sets us up to crash and burn. I used to believe pretty much all of them, and the resulting burnout was so bad, it put me right in the hospital. 1. “Status” as a Hard Worker The American Dream is supposed to be reserved for those who “work hard.” People who seem like they’re having fun at work, or taking a break, or leaving early to pick up their kids… those people are considered to be less productive, less dedicated to getting ahead in life. In fact, unless we learn to pace ourselves, to take breaks, to value family time, our productivity suffers. We become less efficient, even less dedicated, as our energy wanes. Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash 2. “Tough Guy” Image That legendary cinematic image [...]

By |2019-01-13T23:17:49+00:00March 13th, 2018|General|0 Comments

Stretch Goals: Are You Pushing Yourself to Win… or to Fail?

When is the best time to take on one of your stretch goals? There’s a heckuva lot of encouragement out there to go for it, to take on one of your stretch goals, or, as is it is often phrased, to set and achieve your BHAG: your “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal.” The Harvard Business Review ran an interesting article recently on how to decide when it makes sense for an organization to push for a stretch goal, versus when a stretch goal is more likely a setup for organizational failure. The authors boiled it down to this question: Does the organization have the resources needed to reach for a BHAG?  The authors defined resources as time, money, knowledge, personnel, morale, and management support. Their study indicated that having inadequate resources predicted likely failure for that organization in achieving their BHAG. Worse, such a failure usually saps motivation and drive from [...]

By |2019-01-13T22:28:58+00:00February 27th, 2018|General|0 Comments

Did Mom (or Dad) Blow a Fuse?

You know that sense of startlement, the one that comes from a sudden, illuminating new perspective on the life-lessons you absorbed as you grew up? As we lit our Christmas tree this year, I was startled by this new thought: did my mother suffer from burnout? The house I grew up in is still the home of the my mother's business: The Virginia Kidd Agency. I grew up in a wonderful old, leaky, creaky house. At that time, our family could rarely afford the repairs the house constantly needed. In particular, the house's wiring was terrible. One of my less-good childhood memories is of how frequently our Christmas tree lights burned out the master fuse. When the fuse blew, it abruptly plunged our household into pitch-black darkness. It was usually my job to change the fuse. Grumpily, I’d grope around until I located a candle or a flashlight. Then [...]

By |2019-01-13T22:29:33+00:00December 27th, 2017|General|2 Comments