Burnout is a prevalent and serious issue in our fast-paced, demanding world. It’s a state of chronic exhaustion and reduced motivation that affects both your personal well-being and professional performance.
To effectively determine if you have burnout and address it, you need to understand the three phases that burnout typically has. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of each phase, you can evaluate where you stand in your burnout journey. And take action to heal and eliminate your burnout before it’s too late.
Please read on to learn about the three phases of burnout and how you can assess which phase you might be in. I’ve also developed a complimentary “How Bad Is My Burnout?” quiz to help you figure it out. Understanding your burnout phase is the first step towards healing and reclaiming a healthier, happier and more balanced life.
Phase 1: The Honeymoon Phase
The initial phase of burnout is called the Honeymoon Phase. During this stage, you experience high levels of enthusiasm, motivation and commitment to your work or a specific task. You willingly invest long hours, take on additional responsibilities and display an overall positive outlook. However, the excessive workload and relentless pressure gradually begin to take a toll, indicating the onset of burnout.
To evaluate if you’re in the Honeymoon Phase, reflect on the following questions:
- Are you frequently working longer hours than necessary, neglecting personal time and relaxation?
- Do you find yourself taking on more responsibilities without considering the impact on your overall well-being?
- Are you experiencing an increasing pressure to meet unrealistic expectations and constantly striving for perfection?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be in the Honeymoon Phase. It’s crucial to be mindful of the signs and proactively address them to prevent burnout from progressing further.
Phase 2: The Onset of Stress
The second phase of burnout is characterized by the Onset of Stress. During this stage, you begin to experience heightened levels of stress: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The initial enthusiasm you had starts to wane as the demands of work or life take their toll on your overall well-being and performance.
Signs and symptoms of the Onset of Stress may include:
- Increased stress levels, manifesting as persistent anxiety and unease.
- Fatigue and exhaustion, even after getting enough rest and sleep.
- Difficulty concentrating and finding it challenging to complete tasks efficiently.
- Emotional instability, like irritability, frustration or frequent mood swings.
To evaluate if you’re experiencing the Onset of Stress, consider the following questions:
- Do you frequently feel exhausted, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, despite attempts to rest and rejuvenate?
- Are you finding it harder to concentrate and struggling to complete tasks efficiently?
- Are you experiencing emotional instability, such as heightened anxiety, irritability or a sense of frustration?
If you identify with these symptoms, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you may be entering the Onset of Stress phase of burnout. Taking action to address these issues and implementing self-care strategies can help prevent burnout from progressing further. You may want to consider professional help from someone like me to ensure you’re getting to the root cause of your burnout so that it doesn’t progress to phase 3.
Phase 3: Chronic Burnout
The final phase of burnout is the most severe and debilitating, called Chronic Burnout. In this stage, you experience a state of chronic exhaustion on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. You may feel emotionally detached from your work, experience a sense of hopelessness and develop a negative attitude towards your job or work-related tasks. Physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia and frequent illnesses, may also manifest and are common.
Signs and symptoms of Chronic Burnout may include:
- Chronic exhaustion, even after resting and time off.
- Emotional detachment and cynicism towards work or previously enjoyed activities.
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and a lack of motivation.
- Decreased job satisfaction and performance.
Physical symptoms related to stress, such as headaches, insomnia, dis-ease or frequent illnesses. (I’m purposely writing it as “dis-ease” to emphasize that disease is merely the body in a state of un-ease; bring ease back to the body, and healing begins. The energy healing work I do with clients works beautifully for this.)
To determine if you’re in the Chronic Burnout phase, reflect on the following questions:
- Do you constantly feel exhausted, regardless of how much rest and relaxation you build into your routine?
- Have you developed a negative attitude towards your work or tasks, finding it increasingly difficult to find motivation?
- Do you frequently experience physical symptoms related to stress, such as headaches, insomnia, dis-ease or a weakened immune system?
If you resonate with these signs, it’s crucial to acknowledge that you may be experiencing Chronic Burnout and you need to take immediate steps to address it. Support from loved ones, practicing self-care, setting boundaries and seeking professional help are actions you can take towards healing and recovery.
In my personal experience, I went through the first two stages of burnout without really understanding how serious burnout can become if ignored. At the time, I didn’t have the knowledge or a proper support system and before I knew it, I was in the Chronic Burnout phase experiencing all the debilitating symptoms mentioned above.
The scariest part was a serious dis-ease taking its toll on me physically as I experienced excruciating joint and muscle pain, painful burning in my stomach and other GI issues, poor quality sleep, night sweats, fevers, exhaustion, shortness of breath, and frequent ankle and foot swelling. It lasted for almost 2 years as the traditional doctors and western medicine approaches kept treating the symptoms rather than the root cause. Multiple visits to “specialists”, and multiple rounds of steroids and antibiotics prescribed without any diagnosis or true healing, sound familiar?
I was suffering and struggling, yet kept prioritizing work and trying to “push through it”. That’s when a friend led me to energy healing as an option which – methodically and gently – provided the ease and relaxation I didn’t realize I so desperately needed. I began to feel better almost immediately and felt healing on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The healing was on a deeper level addressing the root cause and big positive shifts were the result. Shortly after starting with the energy healing sessions, I was led to other professionals who actually diagnosed my dis-ease and provided comprehensive treatment plans that included healthy lifestyle changes for permanent results.
What’s your experience in dealing with stress and potential burnout while trying to balance a fulfilling career with an equally fulfilling personal life? Do you think you may be prone to burnout or in the middle of one of these burnout phases? Understanding the three phases of burnout – the Honeymoon Phase, the Onset of Stress, and Chronic Burnout – provides a framework for evaluating where you might be in your burnout journey.
If you’d like more help in understanding and evaluating burnout in your life, here’s the link to take the complimentary “How Bad Is My Burnout?” quiz that I created to help you determine which phase you’re in.
Recognizing what stage you’re in is the first step. Then, you’ll become aware of the signs and symptoms to watch out for as you take proactive steps to address them and heal your burnout, and prevent it from recurring at some future time when life gets challenging.
Learn from my experience, and don’t ignore your burnout in the earlier stages. You can’t “push through it” hoping it’ll get better by chance.
Remember, seeking support from loved ones, practicing self-care, setting boundaries and seeking professional help from someone like me are crucial in navigating and overcoming burnout. Prioritizing your well-being and taking appropriate action will pave the way towards a healthier, more fulfilling career and joyful life. Remember, it’s never too late to address burnout and embark on your own healing journey of self-restoration.
Photo by twinsfisch – Unsplash
I’d like to explain how I came up with the name of my company and my signature system, Energy Rapport™ Coaching – and what better way than in a short video (5 minutes).
You see, for a good portion of my life I either ignored or resisted my connection, or relationship, to energy. And by energy I mean the energy levels that we recognize in ourselves. Low energy when tired or scared, high energy when excited or creative or happy.
But it goes deeper than that, it’s the subtle energy that influences us as energetic beings. And this higher, lighter energy we can tap into to support us when we need it.
It could be from mother Earth or the Heavens above – think about how good you feel hiking in nature or after getting some sun and sea air. Or how you feel when witnessing an absolutely gorgeous sunset or sunrise where the whole sky looks like it’s on fire!
There are so many tools, techniques and resources to connect to energy, to build a rapport with it. And it begins with awareness and ease….and going with the flow. Life doesn’t have to feel like a struggle all the time.
As an example, in my late teens and college years, I remember napping when my body needed it. But in my corporate years, I just pushed through the exhaustion which only made things worse.
So, please take a few minutes to learn more about connecting to energy, Energy Rapport™. Click here to watch now.
Hopefully it’ll provide a better understanding of how I’m helping people by teaching them how to utilize their energy for the best and highest possibilities in their lives.
Why does your work mean so much? I get it – the clients I work with are ambitious, hard-working, driven, and growth-oriented. I am too. In the past, a bit too ambitious, and overworking to the point of exhaustion and eventual burnout.
That’s why I’m writing this blog. To point out the benefits and other qualities of work, including the deeper psychological meanings that drive our choices and behavior. My intent is for you to gain an increased understanding about why your work means so much; and subsequently provide you with clarity so you can make choices about maintaining balance and harmony between your personal and professional lives, while still being able to excel and find fulfillment at work.
Benefits of Your Work
We spend a good amount of our time working, maybe 35, 40 or 50 hours or more per week; that allocation of time in and of itself gives work a prominent role in your life.
Work has many benefits and fulfills many needs; it’s a source of income that allows you to support yourself and loved ones with basic things like food and shelter. It also provides the funds to do activities you enjoy and to build wealth long-term.
At work, you learn new skills, meet new colleagues and clients, and definitely get challenged by different work situations.
Work allows you to contribute to the good of others and important causes. Many people link their work to a higher cause, it’s their bigger purpose and strong motivator. For example, I have a friend who became a pharmacist and eventually a pharmaceutical company executive with the higher purpose of helping to find a cure for cancer.
Work gives you a sense of identity and connection; it anchors you to your “work family”. It provides a sense of stability too, especially if you’re going through a challenging time.
When my mother died, and years later my father died, I was in my high pressure corporate HR career. The outpouring of sympathy from my colleagues helped so much. And the ability to focus on work activities in the following months was beneficial to healing my grief.
The Deeper Meaning of Work
This passage below really resonated with me. Internationally acclaimed poet and author David Whyte, wrote the following in his book: Consolations, The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
“Work is frightened with difficulty and possibility of visible failure, failure to provide, to succeed, to make a difference, to be seen and to be seen to be seen.
Work, therefore is robust vulnerability, and a good part of the time, a journey leading us through very unbeautiful private and public humiliations.
We find the core essence of work, firstly through its fear-filled imagining, secondly, in the long necessary humiliations of refusal, courtship and apprenticeship, thirdly in the skill and craft we learn by doing and finally in the harvest of its gift and its gifting and, the surprising ways it is both received and rejected by the world and then strangely, given back to us.
Profit, recognition, wealth: are beautiful by-products only when they come as the children of this falling in love, this patient courtship; this falling down and getting up, this learning to live with and this long careful parenting of our work.”
I think this really speaks to the deeper significance of work and “to be seen and to be seen and to be seen”; especially true for those of us with a strong work ethic.
Balance and Harmony in Work, and in Life
I hope you now have a better understanding about why your work means so much. Keep this in mind when making choices about maintaining balance and harmony in your work, and in your life.
It is more difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance in certain organizations and industries, depending on the company culture, its values, and expectations. Before taking on a new role, ensure it’s a good fit for you.
Throughout your career, pay attention; stay aware of things like overwork, overstress, burn out, lack of boundaries, unhealthy competition, unrealistic expectations and work politics and how they are affecting you. Address them quickly and swiftly for your own wellbeing before they escalate.
I’ve seen the good and the bad of being hard-working and driven, during my HR career and now as a life coach working with career-focused professionals. It’s wonderful to work with people who have high standards and integrity. However, sometimes that quality leads to the imbalance that causes mental and physical exhaustion and illness.
If this blog resonates with you and brought you a deeper understanding of the role of work in your life, and what may be causing some of your challenges, let me know more in the comments.
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash
Let’s put a stop to your self-sabotage once and for all.
Do you want something in your life but can’t seem to attain it? Maybe it’s a goal, dream, or vision you have and yet, month after month, year after year, the time passes by and you’re no closer to achieving it.
Have you already realized you’re sabotaging yourself? Do you actually witness yourself about to do the opposite of what could make you fulfilled, yet you still take that unhelpful action.
Sometimes it feels out of control or like you’re not the one driving that behavior. That’s your subconscious keeping you from living your best life.
Or maybe you’ve rationalized that it’s ok to watch TV for 5 hours when you planned to work on your finances, organize your office and then go for a walk.
You tell yourself that you’ve had a long stressful week at work and you deserve to numb out while binge-watching a TV show. But this short-term ‘reward’ doesn’t support or help your long-term goals.
Dissonance and Cognitive Dissonance
Dissonance is the opposite of harmony. It’s the tension when two conflicting or disharmonious things are combined.
For instance, you say you want less stress in your life and began to see good results by meditating daily, yet now you don’t make it a priority and don’t take the time to meditate at all.
More specifically, cognitive dissonance is a theory in social psychology. It refers to the mental conflict that occurs when your behaviors and beliefs don’t align, like in the meditating example above. You believe and know meditating daily reduces your stress, but your behavior of no longer doing so doesn’t align with that belief.
This mental conflict, or cognitive dissonance, can cause you to feel uncomfortable, stressed, anxious, ashamed or guilty. And since you have an instinctive desire to avoid these types of feelings, you attempt to relieve it.
That’s where the self-sabotage comes in and can have a significant impact on how you think and behave, and the decisions and actions you take. You may get some temporary relief, but in the long-run it’s unhelpful and destructive.
For instance, you may ignore your doctor’s advice, blood test results or published research that causes dissonance. And you may explain things away or devalue them to continue in your pattern.
Years ago, one of my co-workers knew smoking cigarettes was cancer causing yet she explained that it was necessary to calm her nerves given her demanding role at work. She also justified her smoking habit by saying she was concerned about gaining weight if she quit, like she witnessed in her other family members and friends. We’ll believe and keep doing just about anything to relieve the discomfort.
Self-Sabotage: Your Saboteur at Work
You may believe that this sabotaging voice is trying to protect you from harm or that it’s really helping you in some way.
But self-sabotage really is you creating problems for yourself that interfere with your true goals.
It’s not some outside force creating havoc in your life. Realize this and take responsibility for you and your saboteur.
And understand that your saboteur wants you to maintain the status quo in your life.
These are examples of saboteur thoughts. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- You’re not good enough or I’m not good enough.
- You don’t deserve this or I don’t deserve this.
- They’re going to get upset with you.
- That’s too hard.
- I’ll never be successful at this or you’ll never be successful.
- I’ll do it tomorrow.
- It’s not okay to be wealthy/happy.
- It’s not safe to put yourself out there, they’ll criticize and judge you.
Listening to your saboteur is a choice you’re making so that you can feel differently. Pay attention to these thoughts or beliefs; noticing them is the first step in stopping your self-sabotage.
Additionally, expect the saboteur to get stronger whenever you begin to make positive changes in your life. Expect it and be ready for it. The action steps below can help.
Act with Intention: Identify your saboteur and stop your self-sabotage
The saboteur loses its power over us when we’re aware and can identify it, realize we have other options in that situation, and then consciously choose the action at that time that serves us best (gets us closer to our true goal).
Here are some actions to take to identify your saboteur and stop your self-sabotage. It takes practice and work, and consistency, and over time you’ll be back in control and seeing positive results.
- Identify your saboteur by answering these questions. Where are you sabotaging yourself? What does your saboteur often think or say? In your environment, either at work or at home, what self-sabotaging language is being used, by you or others? For instance, a new opportunity at work has come up. It would be a promotion for you and you’re excited to learn more about it. Then you feel a little apprehensive, even nervous or scared, and the following thought stream pops into your head “I’m not ready for this. What if I fail? It’s easier to just stay in this role and not put myself out there to be rejected.”
- Next, you want to challenge and change those beliefs. Every time that thought, belief or language comes up, recognize it as your saboteur and change it. Then consciously choose a new thought and behavior that supports your long-term goals and wellbeing.
In the example above, you recognize those thoughts and beliefs for what they are. It’s your saboteur.
- Challenge “I’m not ready for this” with “Of course I’m ready, this is the perfect job for me.”
- Challenge “What if I fail?” with “What if I don’t fail? What if I don’t even try?”
- Challenge “It’s easier to just stay in this role and not put myself out there to be rejected” with “This new role is part of my long-term career plans, I’m ready for it and I’ll do a fantastic job. If I don’t get selected now, they may consider me for other opportunities in the future because I pursued this role and they know I’m interested in my career growth.”
You may need to get some leverage involved in order to change that thought or behavior. To do that, ask yourself, “What is this costing me in terms of health, wellbeing, relationships, and success? How is this holding me back from my goals and dreams and the vision I see for myself?”
In the example above, the leverage could be envisioning yourself in 2 – 5 years in the future, in the same role, earning a similar salary, not being challenged or growing professionally or personally. How would that feel? What have you missed out on? What are you still tolerating? How does staying stagnant impact your wellbeing, relationships, your long-term goals and dreams?
If you’re struggling with achieving a particular goal, your saboteur could be at work. Sometimes you’re not even aware of it.
I challenge you to get really focused, act intentionally, identify your saboteur and stop your self-sabotage once and for all.
Leave a comment below when you start seeing the positive changes from stopping your self-sabotage. Share your success to encourage others.
of integrate is to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole.
Taking the time to integrate is to intentionally stop taking in more and to combine what you’ve already have for deeper growth and development. Once you integrate, you get to deeper levels of knowledge and fulfillment in your life.
For instance, if you love to learn new things, you may have a tendency to read more and more books, take more workshops and listen to more podcasts. It almost feels like an addiction at times. A friend or colleague recommends a new course or workshop and you sign up, take it, and quickly move on to the next one.
Many times you don’t gain much, in fact, you just consume and never implement what you’ve learned.
You never integrated it; you never took the material to a deeper level where it could make a significant impact in your career or in your life.
The Myth of More is Better
More is better is a myth. The constant strive for more in our culture prevents us from seeing and experiencing the true value of what we already have.
It supports the idea and feeling that wherever you are is not good enough, because more is always better.
It’s hard to be grateful and appreciate all that you have now when your focus is on getting more.
I’ve worked with people who were always focused on the next project or the next job, and never appreciated all they were experiencing in their current role. They missed the fulfilling things like the relationships they were building, the people they were helping and the new things they were learning.
The energy around more is better feels like a chase – a futile one. You’re chasing after things just to accumulate more. And once you have it, you’re dissatisfied and off to the next thing, and the next and the next.
And it’s not just physical things. We’re constantly absorbing more and more experiences, information and energy but without the time or opportunity to sort through it all.
Take the time to sort through it and you’ll begin to feel some significant improvements.
Why It’s Important to Integrate
The chase for more erodes your energy and your sense of fulfillment. Taking the time to integrate gives you your energy back. You begin to feel more in control and organized.
Taking the time to integrate helps to reduce the overwhelm, stress, and exhaustion you experience in your day to day life. If you’re feeling uncentered, off-balance or even fractured, it may be the signal that it’s time to integrate.
Act with Intention: Take Time to Integrate
Here are some suggestions to start taking intentional action around taking the time to integrate.
First off, slow down and realize if you’re in a “more is better” mindset and exhibiting behaviors like described above. When you notice this behavior or thought, change it to a more helpful behavior or thought. Simply saying “slow down” or “stop” can be enough to bring about some awareness.
It took some time to get here, but now I quickly recognize if I’m going down a ‘learning” rabbit hole. Any emails or suggestions for a new book, course, training program or free live event I either delete immediately or I scan it to see if it’ll be useful and put it on my “maybe later” list.
Taking time to integrate is more than just not taking more in. You want to intentionally integrate experiences and information as they occur or directly afterwards.
One good practice is to spend 5-10 minutes after a meeting or workshop to integrate your key takeaways. Things like what you learned, what you’d like to implement from the training, if anything. Better yet, take notes during it to include which things you’d like to test out and apply to your own life.
Additionally, take a break and stop taking more in – for days, weeks or months if needed. That means no new podcasts, books, workshops or courses during this time period.
During this break from consuming more info, data and things, sort through what you already have. This can be done by simply taking the time to think about things. Embrace daydreaming. Let you mind wander. Meditate. This is how your brain sorts and categorizes information.
A good question to ask is: Is this information useful for you and can you apply it to your life? If not, let it go.
If it’s useful, your next step is to take action and test it out. Apply it and experience this information.
Lastly, after testing it out review what you’ve learned through the application and experience of integrating it into your life. Are there any additional lessons or knowledge? Have your beliefs changed as a result?
Taking the time to integrate is the best way to become a more unified whole. You’ll find it brings new levels of understanding and wisdom, and you’ll feel more fulfilled in your life.
Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash
Responsibility is part of your personal power and that’s why taking responsibility feels so good. When you’re feeling powerless, stress and anxiety increase, and it’s a small step to blaming and complaining about others or the situation. Responsibility is about responding to your circumstances from a higher place, a place aligned with your goals, your dreams, your values, and your contribution to others and society. The empowering nature of responsibility amplifies feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Response – ability. What responsibility really means
The word responsibility broken down is response – ability. It’s simply the ability to respond. It’s when you intentionally and consciously make choices and take actions for the benefit of others or for yourself. You choose behaviors and make decisions to bring about change, change for the better. For instance, say you’re leading a team at work and one of the team members seems disengaged in meetings and is missing deadlines and deliverables. Do you immediately blame the individual or ignore the situation, hoping it’ll improve on its own? Or, as a responsible team lead, do you have a private conversation with him to share your observations and find out if there are legitimate reasons for the lack of engagement and poor follow-through?
Most importantly, when you’re taking responsibility you take action and you own the outcome of that action (your choice or decision). Refusing to take responsibility by blaming others or the circumstances for your situation gives away your power. You ultimately are denying your ability to respond – to take action to change the circumstance for the better. It’s the law of cause and effect. You take action, create the cause, watch the effect and take responsibility for the outcome – good or not so good. In the earlier example, the responsible team lead took the action to have a private conversation to find out if there are legitimate reasons for the lack of engagement and poor follow-through. The outcome could be a turnaround in behavior and results just from that simple conversation. Or it could be continued problems with this person. Either way, a leader takes responsibility for both actions and outcomes, owns that outcome and may have to take additional actions if the situation does not improve.
Leadership, not victim-hood
Imagine if this leader never addressed the issue, and this situation jeopardized the entire project getting done on time and on budget, not to mention the poor morale from the other team members. These types of choices happen in our personal lives too. The choice to be proactive and empowered and take responsibility or do the opposite: be the recipient of things “happening to you”. Victims avoid taking responsibility; they feel powerless to effect change and so they don’t take any action. They may complain about the pain and suffering it’s causing them, and you might hear them say “why is this happening to me?” or “it’s just not fair”. Ultimately, they wait for someone else to fix the problem. This victim-hood has some benefits, like getting sympathy or attention from others, but long-term it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, your peace of mind, and your overall fulfillment in your career and life.
Why you feel good when you take responsibility
The empowering nature of responsibility amplifies feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment. The feel-good chemicals and reactions in our body go off when we stand in our power, for our own benefit and especially for the benefit of others. By taking responsibility, we build trust and confidence in what we can do. And helping others just feels good, plus it strengthens the trust and relationships we have with them. Even if you don’t get the result you wanted, you still feel good knowing you tried your best in the action you took. As the saying goes, “it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all”.
Act with intention: Take responsibility
Here’s a great exercise to help you nurture more responsibility in your career and in your life. Step 1: Pay specific attention to your language and behavior during challenging situations. Become aware of any blaming or complaining language or behaviors you exhibit throughout the day. Do you say things like “someone should fix this”, or “why is this happening to me?” Are you reactive or defensive a lot? Do you find fault in others or whenever something goes wrong do you immediately shout “it’s not my fault” or ask “whose fault is this”? Jot it down when you hear it or make a mental note. Step 2: Next, begin to change the language or behavior as it’s happening or immediately afterwards. When you hear yourself saying “why is this happening to me?”, change it to “What can I learn from this?” or “How is this challenge causing me to grow and expand?”. Come from a place and attitude of growth, learning, expansion and responsiveness. Other healthy responses are “what do I want as on outcome out of this?” or “what can I do to positively change this?” These statements and new behaviors will build your personal empowerment and responsibility. It’s best to use your energy productively and responsibly. Remember the law of cause and effect and take action, observe the effect, take responsibility (own the outcome) and adjust your actions going forward to bring about your desired results in your career and in your life. Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash
Readiness is key in making a change. Are you ready?
Change can be a small step toward achieving a goal, a big change like starting a new job, or a giant leap like deciding to turn your world upside down in pursuit of a lifelong dream.
No matter the size and impact of the change, they all have one thing in common. You have to ready to make that change. If you’re not ready it’s not going to happen.
Are You Ready or Not?
No progress or inconsistent results may be a sign you’re not ready to change.
How is your progress toward achieving your goals this year? Do you have any goals with little to no progress toward achieving them?
For instance, maybe you do really well meditating for a month. But slowly the habit unravels to where you can’t seem to find the time to do it anymore.
Getting regular exercise is another goal people find challenging with limited results.Another goal people find challenging with limited results is getting regular exercise.
Another goal I see people struggle with is finishing work at a reasonable time, so you can intentionally spend some down time with family, friends or doing something fun that lights you up.
The Change Process
There is usually a progression we all go through when making changes.
First, you have to realize the need to make a change. If you don’t see something as a problem, there is no need to make a change. Let’s presume we’re past this step.
Next, you may recognize you have a problem but you’re in denial about the seriousness of not changing. It’s like the man who has a heart attack yet continues to prioritize his work above his health, taking work calls from the hospital bed. And later making no significant long-term lifestyle changes that would support his health.
Or you recognize the need to change, but you may get stuck in analysis paralysis. You’re weighing pros and cons, creating lists of things that may help, or changing your mind about whether it’s worth it to make a change. Maybe you’re just not sure how to proceed so you keep researching potential solutions and never settle on one to pursue. This can go on for weeks without taking any action.
It’s good to do research and find helpful options, just don’t get stuck spinning here.
Motivation is Key
Denial or analysis paralysis is where the readiness factor comes in. If you’re stuck, you may want to explore your motivation to change versus staying status quo.
What will it cost you if you don’t change? For example, if you continue to work long hours and on weekends and holidays, what is it costing you in your relationships, or in your health?
If you’re already working with a life coach, this could be a great exercise to do together. Once you get clear on your motivation, and are ready to take action toward making that change, having an alliance with your coach increases your likelihood of success.
If you stumble along the way or slip into old habits, your coach is there to offer support. She can help you adjust your goals and action steps to so you remain aligned with and on track to reach your goals.
Act with Intention: Take these steps now.
Here are some action steps to take if you’re not getting the results you want in your life.
1. Determine where things aren’t working. What goals do you have for yourself where you’re getting limited to no results? What’s it for you? Cleaning out your garage, getting regular exercise in, getting back to meditating every day, or intentionally working smarter so you can have more balance in your life?
2. Check your readiness. Are you in denial or still analyzing options to try? Are you ready to make that change?
3. Explore your motivation to change versus staying status quo. What will cost you if you don’t change? Write it down.
4. Take an intentional action step, try an option out – get some momentum going and stay consistent.
Photo by Artur Aldyrkhanov on Unsplash
You know what you want in your career and in each of the important areas of your life (finances, health, relationship, spirituality, etc.), yet you’re not seeing the desired results. Are you getting in your own way? If so, get out of your own way and get things done.
Does this sound familiar: “I set a goal on January 1, here we are halfway through the year and I’m no closer to achieving it.”
How do you get in your own way? This could be an extensive list, but to keep it short I’ll focus on two areas: 1. Energy drains and 2. Unmet or unacknowledged needs
One way you get in your own way of getting things done is by not managing your energy drains. Energy drains are the little or big things that tax your attention and energy.
They slow down your progress and prevent you from achieving your goals. Read more about what could be draining your energy and what to do about it here.
Unmet or Unacknowledged Needs
We all have needs and its okay to have them. Needs are a normal part of being human. It’s important to recognize if you’re not meeting those needs in a healthy or satisfying way, or you’re not even acknowledging them. You’re slowing down or stopping important things from getting done.
You’ve most likely learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in psychology class. It’s a five tiered hierarchy that’s typically shown as a pyramid. that suggests people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to more advanced psychological and self-fulfillment needs.
It’s helpful because it illustrates the various types of needs and reminds us that all humans have needs. It also stresses the importance of self-actualization needs at the top of the pyramid.
It includes physiological needs like food, water and sleep followed by safety and security needs like health and wellness, or a safe place to live. Social needs like family, romantic partner, and community come next, followed by esteem needs like appreciation and respect from others. Last are the self-actualization needs which are growing and developing to achieve your highest potential.
What are your needs?
Use these categories in the Maslow’s Hierarchy to think about and identify your needs. How are you meeting these needs? Can you find healthier ways to satisfy them? Are there any needs that you’re not fulfilling? Do you think it’s not okay to have these needs?
An example that comes to mind is the typical caretaker who puts everyone’s needs ahead of their own. My mother would work all day, and then go visit each of her parents (one lived at home, one was in a nursing home in another town) every evening after work and on the weekends.
On her way home she would do grocery shopping or pick up dinner for her husband and kids. She pushed her needs aside while everyone else’s needs were the priority.
Like my mother, many of us learn to pretend like we have it all together and can handle it all without help from anyone. Unfortunately, that’s how we get in our own way and prevent or delay the achievement of our biggest dreams and goals.
Another example is the person who hears they shouldn’t be boastful or act too proud as a child. Her needs for recognition and being valued are not satisfied. goes unmet as her achievements are not acknowledged.
Now as an adult, she’s often frustrated and feels disappointed when her efforts are not recognized at work. She feels incomplete and sometimes communicates all that she has done to anyone that will listen.
Oftentimes, this comes across as attention seeking or boasting by her colleagues and supervisor. She really wanted acknowledgement, but this isn’t the healthiest way to satisfy that need. She could find a healthier way.
Act with Intention: Take these steps now
First off, acknowledge that all humans have needs and its okay for you to have needs.
Then think about your needs and write down your top 3 needs right now. To help you create your list, review these categories of needs: security and certainty (safety and stability), significance (power, achievement and influence), love and connection (relationships, being listened to and connected to something greater than yourself/spiritual), and growth (learning, development and creativity).
Ask yourself for each of these 3 top needs, how are you meeting them?
Is it in a healthy or unhealthy way? What unhealthy ways are you going to let go of right now? What healthy ways of meeting those same needs are you going to create instead, not only in your career but in your life?
For example, let’s say one of your top needs is to feel safe and secure. Last year you earned a promotion at work and have an exciting and fulfilling new organization to lead. You felt secure in your role.
This year, because of outside circumstances everything is uncertain, especially your role. You put in even more hours and you’re working holidays and most weekends to feel secure in your position, putting your health and relationships at risk.
Perhaps a healthier way to fulfill your need for safety and security is to fulfill it outside of work since you don’t have direct control over the current work environment.
You can satisfy that need in your home environment or with your relationships. You can spend more quality time and get a sense of security and safety from those close beneficial connections you have with your family and friends. Experiencing their unconditional support for you and knowing they are there for you when you need them helps you feel safe and secure.
Remember, we all have needs and it’s critical for you to meet these needs in order to have a fulfilling career and life. So get out of your own way and get things done in healthier and more satisfying ways.
Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash
Is the passion gone in your career? Are you increasingly dissatisfied, unfulfilled or bored in your current role?
Everyone looks for work satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness in their own way. You may find a deep sense of serving and building close relationships with your clients or coworkers very fulfilling. Others may find the ability to be creative and generate new ideas is what lights them up at work.
For me, I love helping others achieve their goals and dreams. In my Human Resources career, that was the most fulfilling part.
Helping executives create a strategy and plan for their employees’ growth and development was my favorite part of HR. In a matter of months, this intentional and focused effort provided impressive results for employees: promotions, growth opportunities and improved career satisfaction, and much more.
Unfortunately, with new leadership things changed. Growth and development was no longer prioritized nor valued. I personally felt the passion disappear in my career.
Now as a coach the passion is back. I get to do what I love 100% percent of the time.
Benefits of passion in your work
There are numerous benefits for having passion in the work you do.
Passion brings energy to your work: you wake up in the morning, more energized and refreshed knowing you get to go in and spend time doing what you love. The energy supports getting tasks done on time, even over delivering on your promised results.
Passion in your work also keeps you motivated. You’re willing to put in extra effort and hours but it doesn’t feel overwhelming. The time flies by because you’re enjoying what you do.
You’re more engaged, creative, focused and since you love what you do you’re producing high-quality work and it shows.
You have a clear purpose and vision for what you do and where you’re heading.
Reasons why the passion is gone
I’ve experienced many of the following situations personally in my corporate career, and while working in Human Resources witnessed all of them play out throughout the organizations where I worked.
In most cases, the company would lose excellent employees who were no longer willing to accept these situations. In other cases, I saw employees remain in their jobs but become increasingly disengaged (employee engagement scores plummeted) because they felt powerless to improve their situation.
One reason leading to dissatisfaction in your career is being underpaid and overworked. That builds resentment and a feeling of not being valued. Even if you’re paid well, maybe you’re not valued as a person or the work you do isn’t valued in other ways.
Toxic work environments may be a cause for losing the passion in your career. Does your employer disregard your personal life and have no tolerance for your personal and family obligations?
Perhaps your immediate supervisor is unqualified for their job, or they have a tyrant workstyle. You have to watch every word you say and every move you make because there’s no support from that supervisor or others, and you can get fired for almost any reason. Regardless of how much you love your work, the toxic work environment is exhausting.
Having no visibility into the future at your organization or no confidence that your leaders will do the right thing, either from a business standpoint or ethically, can also lead to dissatisfaction.
And lastly, politics in your workplace and getting tired of dealing with it, is another reason people lose their passion for the work they once had. I heard it a lot “why can’t I just focus on the work without all these political distractions?”
Many of these reasons could be workplace specific, and people will leave their current employer having learned what they won’t tolerate. They could potentially find a better match and the passion returns.
Others may continue to feel “bored” after years of doing the same type of work. You may be achieving your business goals but is it truly satisfying work?
You may feel that something is missing from your life. That you’re just going through the motions at work without experiencing any real satisfaction from the successes you’re achieving.
Remember, your job doesn’t have to last forever. The days of working for one employer for 30+ years are long gone.
If you find yourself bored or miserable at work, even if it’s work you’re passionate about, a change of job or of profession, might be the solution for you.
However, it’s not always feasible to change your job, quit to start your own business or move somewhere new, even if your situation is undesirable. These are major changes that not everyone is up for.
Alternatively, you can stay in that same job, and do some work to attempt to improve things, starting with what your work means to you.
Look for the deeper meaning
Being passionate about work doesn’t necessarily mean it makes you happy but rather that it is meaningful.
If the passion in your career is dwindling, look for the deeper meaning in what you do.
Why do you do what you do? How did you initially get into your current profession? Why is your work important to your organization and to others? How does your work affect you and affect others?
Answering questions like these will give you a better understanding of the meaning behind your work.
Act with intention: steps to take now
In addition to answering questions like those above, you can go deeper with answering additional questions like:
- What’s your favorite part of your work day, work week and work year?
- What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in last week?
- What’s amazing about your team? About your coworkers? About your supervisor?
- How can the tasks you do become more meaningful?
- How can you change things so you get more of what’s important to you?
Then make small adjustments so that your work more directly reflects your beliefs, values and needs. You can also change the way you think about different aspects of your job to bring more fulfillment and satisfaction back.
This deeper self-reflection can be done on your own or you may find working with a coach a more effective process. A coach can help you find the bright spots in your work life and enlarge them. Together you’ll create more fulfillment by giving a deeper meaning to your projects, teams, work relationships and even the organization.
When you create a purposeful meaning for your work, you’ll find more happiness in your day to day activities as well as a greater satisfaction in your life overall.
Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash