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Growth Health and Wellness Management

The Psychology Behind Burnout and Strategies to Beat It

Highly-motivated people have a strong tendency to push themselves to the point of burnout — it makes sense that they would. These individuals aren’t only setting deadlines for goals—they’re going to extraordinary lengths to meet them. However, deadlines aren’t always met easily: life happens, obstacles pop up, and, inevitably, stress creeps in.

“It doesn’t matter how I feel; the job has to get done.”

The deadline-driven professional might say this, and, as predicted, plow through the work, thinking that any other method will only cause delay and more anxiety, possibly resulting in them missing their deadline altogether. Often when we try to plow through these feelings and “get the job done,” the result is not only burnout but depression or prolonged anxiety, along with higher risk of stress-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

However, understanding that stress hormones affect our physical ability to work through problems motivates us to deal with the root of the anxiety, first. This is less about solving the dilemma at hand, but instead about identifying what exactly is causing the stress. In other words, it’s an opportunity to invite a third-party mediator, so to speak, within your mind—an “advisor.”

Important Questions to Ask:

This neutral advisor can pose the following vital questions:

  • How, precisely, is this situation causing me stress?”
  • What is within my control?
  • What is not within my control?
  • If the forces beyond my control overtake this situation, what is the worst possible outcome? Is it that bad?
  • Can I handle that worst possible outcome?

Usually, stress begins to loosen its grip on the body, and we can ask the most crucial question: “What’s the most powerful action I can take to create the best possible outcome in this situation?”

The body expresses everything that is registered by the mind.

The thing is: the body expresses everything that is registered by the mind. High-stress situations put the brain on high alert; subsequently, flooding the body with stress hormones that affect one’s ability to process thoughts.

Proactively dealing with these physical symptoms allows the solution to come swiftly and efficiently, as opposed to when we try to force our way through a clouded mind.

Stress is a daily occurrence for many hard-working people. You can feel it in your body. It’s essential to pay attention to physical symptoms and to notice tension or aches in the body, mood, as well as appetite changes.

It is essential, in these moments, to ask questions like: “Why do my muscles hurt? What happened to my mood? What can I do to improve this?” (Often, stretching and snacking can be immediately helpful.)

Additionally, we all have times of the day in which we are most productive. Getting to know your body is the only way to take advantage of situations that bring you energy and avoid those that deplete you.

Stay in Touch with the Body

In conclusion, physical symptoms of stress are an excellent indicator that it’s time to ask questions and identify their source. Handling these physical symptoms is an important aspect of taking care of ourselves, mitigating adverse effects, and increasing energy and clarity; — essentially avoiding burnout altogether.

If you’ve found this article helpful, I highly recommend that you download my 5 Tips for Mastery Under Pressure, which cover the topics of focus, relaxation, dealing with negative self-talk, how to visualize, and how to transform and channel fear.

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Best Practices Culture Growth Health and Wellness Leadership Technology

Stop Playing a Game of Relationships Roulette

Attention is about connection. Attention is critical for cultivating healthy relationships – personally and professionally. Studies have shown us that when people fail to get the attention they need from a relationship, they will begin to seek it elsewhere.

Giving attention to someone is our way of prioritizing the relationship and showing them they are important to us.

When we give our attention to our spouse or partner, our relationship deepens.

When we give attention to our friends and family, our relationships become stronger.

As leaders, when we give attention to our employees, we retain their talent and create a sense of loyalty in the partnership.

My latest book Attention Pays, recently released and I’ve been ah-mazed at the number of people who have reached out to me about their experience reading it. Many of them have admitted they finally recognized the fact they were neglecting their more important relationships. Some even felt compelled to put the book down to give their focus to those they love in that very moment.  That makes me so happy. I am a work in progress, just like you. I need these reminders too.

I believe attention is our new currency. The more undivided attention we give to those that matter most, the more value they see in the relationship.

Here are a few strategies to help you focus your undivided attention on those in your life:

1. Device-free meals. Choose to keep the table a device-free zone. No matter the meal, no matter the company, choose to put it away. If you’re having a team luncheon, challenge others to do the same. Having dinner with friends? Make a deal with them that the first person to engage on their phone will have to pay the bill. Instead, use the time at the table to focus on those in your presence. Honor them and their importance in your life by engaging and gifting them with your undivided attention.

2. Purposefully plan. Be mindful and intentional about when you will spend time with those who matter most. Schedule time in the office to meet with employees to check in on their well-being. Set aside time each day to ask your children about their day. Consider planning a vacation with your friends or family that you can look forward to. Plan a date with your partner, child or friends. By planning ahead, you are letting others know how much you value the relationship.

3. Little things matter. Have you ever been surprised by someone who bought you a coffee on their way to work one morning? Maybe you’ve come home to find a small, unexpected package in the mail from a friend. Little things matter. They are one way to give attention to those who matter in your life. They let others know you care. Consider grabbing your partner’s favorite dessert on the way home as a special surprise. Or, pop an unexpected hand-written note in the mail to a friend or loved one. Reward an employee with a coffee or sweet treat for a hard day’s work.

What ideas do you have? Feel free to share in the comments below. Relationships are critical to our happiness and are important to our personal and professional well-being. Invest yourself in relationships and show those in your life they matter most.

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Best Practices Entrepreneurship Management Personal Development Women In Business

Intention Makes Attention Valuable

Ever thought about the value of paying attention?

Attention sometimes gets a bad rap in today’s society. Perhaps that is because we’ve come to associate the concept of attention with unrelenting selfies that scream “look at me’ and the constant sharing of eery details of one’s life on social media. That is not the type of attention I want to discuss. The type of attention that truly matters and makes a difference in our lives is intentional attention – the kind that helps you show up as the best version of yourself in all roles of your life.

We all want and need attention from the people who are important to us. We want to feel we are the center of somebody’s attention, even if we don’t want to be the center of everybody’s attention.

Attention is critical throughout all aspects of our lives – including our jobs. We need focused attention from our leaders and employees to get work done, to achieve results, and to succeed. our customers and our teams need attention, too. People want to be seen and heard and to know that their concerns are being addressed.

Attention is not optional; it’s vital. It is attention that drives the results we all want and need.

Perhaps this why we always hear the phrase “Pay attention!” Our parents told us to pay attention. Our teachers told us to pay attention. We tell our kids to pay attention. These are all valuable life lessons.

The issue is that most of us are giving distracted, unfocused attention (like texting while driving) to everything and everyone we come in contact with. That kind of attention is worthless. It sends the message that the focus of our attention has little value, meaning, or importance to us.

Intention is what makes attention valuable.

Intentional attention is active. it involves seeing, hearing, and thinking about who is with you and what needs your focus right now. it requires us to choose consciously, act deliberately, and invest transformationally with our attention.

If you are ready to intentionally invest your attention in what matters at the moment; the people you are talking to, the priorities you are acting on, and the passions you are pursuing, it’s time to pick up a copy of Attention Pays and start paying attention to what matters most.

Categories
Best Practices Entrepreneurship Management Marketing Personal Development Women In Business

Protect Your Schedule, Time and Attention

Are you constantly competing with others over your schedule? Do you feel inundated by a barrage of interruptions and distractions each day that leaves you feeling as if you worked like a crazy person all day and accomplished nothing as a result?

In my new book, Attention Pays, I outline strategies for busy professionals to protect their time and attention from being fritted away by anyone and anything asking for it.

Here are seven strategies you can being implementing today to take control of your schedule and permit you the time necessary to leverage your attention to accomplish more each day.

Create a personal daily strategic 15-minute appointment – Take this time to determine your top three non-negotiable activities you must complete before you sleep tonight. Several years ago, I challenged an executive leadership team at Comcast to invest 15 minutes of their attention every day in a strategic appointment. They say awesome results, become the highest performing team in their region. Their shared increased focus allowed them to prioritize completion of strategic objectives and invest in their people’s development instead of being distracted by everyday busyness.

Schedule your morning routine – We outlined this routine in Chapter 3 of my new book, Attention Pays. It’s critical that you get this on your calendar so that phone calls or meetings don’t encroach on this important time.

Assign certain activities to specific days of the week – This system has you group regular activities together to maximize productivity and minimize distractions. Will it work seamlessly with every week in the same way? no, but with a system, your team or assistant can schedule meetings on designated days. We worked with a financial services executive to design her ideal week. here is what hers looked like. Yours, of course, will be different:

  • Monday: Meet with team members, senior leadership, and her boss in the office.
  • Tuesday to Thursday: Industry and vendor networking events, client appointments, presentation preparation, and travel. These days were spent outside the office and included a work-from-home day.
  • Friday: As she enjoyed being home for weekends, any meetings were local and never scheduled to finish later than 5pm. If no meetings were scheduled, she focused on strategizing for the upcoming week and catching up on administrative work.

Schedule no talk days – My best friend manages multiple companies, raises my two beautiful God-daughters, volunteers in her community, and enjoys working with her clients. She discovered that on days she doesn’t talk to anyone, she’s massively productive. So, she started scheduling no-talk days – days with no appointments, which are dedicated to strategy and achieving goals. As an extrovert, I found this strategy especially helpful. Could you do this once a quarter to make more progress toward your bigger goals?

Schedule service days – I allocate one day a month on my calendar for pro bono assistance to people in my industry who need help. could you add a service day to your calendar?

Time block – Schedule space in your calendar for strategy, email review, meetings, social media engagement, and personal time.

Create visual recognition systems – Use color-coding to simplify your life. My calendar uses a variety of colors to show speaking, travel, consulting, personal appointments, and administration and business development.

Block out personal time in advance and honor the appointment with yourself as you would a client or employee.

Pick up a copy of Attention Pays to learn more about creating an extraordinary life by ‘unplugging’ from the constant barrage of disruptions and ‘plugging in’ to the tools, strategies, and mindsets that allows you to harness your attention to reach your highest potential.

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