Ban Burnout - Choose Being Before Belonging
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: (singing) This is Write Your OWN Story: Three Keys to Rise and Thrive in Life and Business. I'm your host, Rebecca Fleetwood Hession. What if I told you that the responsible, organized, hardworking, goal- oriented people of the world are responsible for perpetuating and exacerbating burnout? That's what we going to get into today, y'all. Because I don't know anybody more obsessed with studying burnout than myself. I mean, I'm sure there are some. I just don't know them personally. So once I dug into the report from our friend Herbert Freudenberger, the German American psychologist who published the first burnout report in 1974. So if you're new here, quick little recap. So Herbert and his buddies were sitting around the office talking about work, and they were just feeling some kind of way. And the way they described it was they just felt burned out. And Herbert being the good psychologist that I'm sure he was said, " I wonder if other people are feeling this way. We should do a study." And that's exactly what they did. And they published the study. In fact, yes, many others were feeling this way. Now remember, this is 1974. I was eight years old. As I like to say, this shit ain't new. And it is going to continue if we don't really study it and look at ways to change it. And in this study, there are 12 stages of burnout. So we published this wheel with these 12 stages of burnout. So as a good consultant, I of course went to root cause. What are the first couple, two or three of these stages? Because if we can get at it in the beginning as it starts, we don't have to go through the other stages. So let me read to you the first three stages of burnout from this report in 1974. The first one is a compulsion to prove oneself. An obsessive need to perform, achieve, or care. Here's the hard part about this one. The subtext is it tends to affect the conscientious people who show enthusiasm and accept responsibility. Yeah, that one hurts a little, doesn't it? So tends to affect us. Probably most of the people listening to this podcast. Number two, in the stages of burnout. Working harder. Having a difficulty winding down. The organizational expectations are out of control, unreasonable, or unfair. And the third stage. Then you neglect your own needs. You have poor sleep, poor diet, and you start to disconnect and shut off from others. So those are the first three stages of burnout. So if we can get at the heart of these, the root of these, and understand it and change it, we can ban it, prevent it. So I do what I do, which is dig into each one of these. The meaning, the words. What is it? How do we understand it? If you've been around here a while, that etymology and understanding words is kind of a hobby of mine. The first word that I dug into, compulsion. Because the number one stage is a compulsion to prove oneself. Well okay, what's a compulsion? Compulsion is an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, repetitive behaviors or mental acts. So in its extreme, it would be diagnosed as OCD. So if it's an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, how do we deal with compulsive behaviors? So then I start looking into that. Well, the first recommendation is to go through cognitive behavior therapy. Therapy. And I think it's fascinating how we just use terms, but we don't always dig into, what does that mean? So I dug into, what is cognitive? Well, the root of it is cognition. It is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. So if we distill all of that into how do we understand compulsive behavior, we have to become aware of it. So I talk all the time around here about reflection. That's really what we're talking about, to zoom out. Like you're rising up above what's happening in your life and observing yourself. Become aware of your thoughts, your actions, all the things. So the first act of banning burnout is to become aware of your behaviors. Become aware of yourself. So then the second part of the first stage, compulsion to prove oneself. So we have to become aware. Well, what does prove mean? It's to establish or demonstrate truth or existence. So the number one stage of burnout says that we have an obsessive need to establish our existence. Well, that kind of makes me sad. And no matter how many books we read, no matter how many times I say it here, or you hear it from others, you are enough. You don't need to prove your existence. There's something deeper that is perpetuating this. And that's what I want to get at. So hyping each other up that we are enough isn't moving fast enough to make the changes that we need to make. So the subtext of that one is it tends to affect the conscientious people who show enthusiasm and accept responsibility. So of course, what does conscientious mean? Well, it's one of the fundamental personality traits. And if you dig into psychology like I do also as a bit of a habit, there are various traits of personalities that psychologists and psychiatrists have identified to make studying it easier. And one of the most fundamental is those that are conscientious. So it's described as the tendency to be responsible, organized, hardworking, goal- directed, and to adhere to norms and rules. So those that take their obligations seriously, the conscientious goal- oriented people. Hello, we are the ones that are most prone to burnout at this first stage. So if I zoom out and look at the first three stages. Compulsion to prove oneself, working harder, and neglecting own needs. And I say, " Okay, so what's most common about those three things? How do those connect?" What I see in all three of those is a craving for connection at all costs. And that makes sense, because one of the deepest human needs that we have is to be seen, heard, known, and connected. So that makes sense. We are desperately seeking that human need. The problem is it's at all cost. So we're willing to sacrifice ourselves to be connected and prove ourselves. Okay, stay with me. We're going somewhere. Promise. If you look at the practice of psychology, there are basically two fundamental camps. That's what I always do. I take this big complicated stuff and I'm like, " Well, let's just distill it down into some simple language and what's the common denominator, if you will." So the two camps of psychology are the need to belong, connection, and the need to be. Which is our basic biology, survival. But also our uniqueness, our sense of meaning in who we are. So these first three stages of burnout, the root of it seem to be based on this first need to belong by connecting, and serving, and finding our worth from our service, our work, our achievements, our contribution to others. Which means that our sense of belonging is coming from somewhere outside of ourselves. So often described as extrinsic motivation versus intrinsic. So external versus internal. So if we're trying to get our sense of being, our sense of belonging, and who we are from outside of ourselves, that's not going to work. Because you can never satisfy from outside. We can never satisfy our own unique needs from outside of ourselves, because we're all very different. So proving ourselves, ask us to meet the expectation of someone else. Out there. It's not in here. It's not in our heart, our soul, our mind. And here's the funny thought that came to mind, because I'm also always trying to think, " What metaphor or story can you use for this? I thought of this." It's like painting the outside of your house, trying to make the inside feel safe and cozy. That's not going to work. We can't look outside to feel better inside. So it's literally a game that we can't win. So if we're going to bust out of this cycle of burnout that we've been in for a century, forever, decades. Our being, our sense of wellbeing has to come before our need for belonging. And not because we're selfish or we're uninterested in connection. It's because we want connection. We want the kind of connection that is right for us. Because how will we know the right relationships? Whether it's spouses or friends, colleagues, clients. How will we know the right connections for our uniqueness if we don't know our uniqueness? How will we know what the right job is for us? The puzzle pieces that I always talk about. So we are each unique down to our fingerprints, like a piece of a puzzle. And when we know our jagged edges and who we are uniquely, then we can go for who is our right connection, who's going to fit with us. Because there are three characteristics of a puzzle once it's built. It's far more beautiful, it's far stronger, and every piece matters. So we know who we are and how we matter to others. We're connected. We're belonging. We're not proving ourselves. Here's where it gets dicey, okay? Because the most susceptible to this first stage of burnout in improving ourselves are the conscientious, that's the leaders and the people that are setting standards and expectations for others. Responsible, organized, hardworking, goal- oriented, and adhering to norms and rules. So the conscientious of the world are perpetuating that this is the way it is. This is the norm. This is the standard, is to prove ourselves. We're feeding the beast of burnout with our high drive and responsibility to the rules and the norms. Because these same norms and rules have been causing burnout since I was eight years old, probably before. That's just when the first report came out. So in the words of our friend Taylor Swift, it's me. Hi, I'm the problem. It's me. I mean, let me be clear. It's not me anymore, because I became aware, and I made the shift. But I'm one of those conscientious, goal- oriented people. And I absolutely will acknowledge and admit that I helped exacerbate burnout for years before I knew any better. It's all I knew. It was the norm, and the way, and the rule. Prove yourself, work harder, stay late, whatever it takes. Please the client. Get the promotion. Make sure everybody knows that you're a hard worker. You with me? So if we're going to break the cycle of burnout, the leaders, the goal- oriented, the conscientious hard workers. We're going to either need to get sick of our own shit and change, which is what I did. But it's going to take thousands of us, tens of thousands of us to shift society. And honestly, it's why I'm starting a movement called a Thousand Thriving Women, because I started looking at the work of transformation that I'm helping my clients with that came from my own experience. And I'm realizing we got to get moving on this. More people need these tools fast if we're going to have the kind of change and impact that I desperately want for everybody. For my kids, for my grandkids, for you. So we're either going to need to get sick of our own shit and change, or we're going to have to have more respect for some of the other personality traits. Some of those people that are less inclined to be following all the rules and the norms. Those that are just rooted in creativity and go with the flow. Those people are some of my favorite now that I can respect them and appreciate them. They used to feel like they were the problem that I needed to fix. But boy, do I see that differently now. I realize that some of them have a really rewarding life and they're coming up with really innovative ideas, because they don't give a shit about the rules and the norms. They're willing to go outside of that. That's where innovation comes. It's this adherence to the rules and norms that are keeping us stuck. These rules suck about prove yourself and work harder. So, I'm okay with either. Either we get tired of our own and change, or we let others innovate, and work outside the rules, and create something better for all of us. I don't care how it happens. I think both need to happen, but something needs to happen. So then in my studies of all these things, I ran into a gentleman that I have studied before. I don't know how to pronounce his name. I should look this up at some point. It's spelled R- O- L- L- O. Rollo. That's a candy. I don't know. Rollo May I don't know. He's one of the fathers of existentialism. He brought us the stages of development. He's written a lot on love and anxiety. In fact, I'm geeked out again as I stumbled back on his work about the stuff he talks about, anxiety being key to change. We're going to do that on another episode. It's fascinating. But I studied this gentleman when I was doing a lot of studying the world of attention deficit disorder in the stages of development and all the things. But here's the quote that I came back across that I think fits here fabulously. Mr. May says, " Every human being must have a point at which he stands against the culture where he says, 'This is me and the damn world can go to hell.'" That's where we need to be. Because the culture that we've created, being conscientious and hardworking is perpetuating this burnout to prove ourselves. Now look, I'm not saying that we're not going to work hard, because come on. But we're going to work differently. Stay with me. We're getting there. But something has to give. And I've been telling you for years, begging you, inviting you, inspiring you. In fact, I even screamed, and yelled, and cried a few episodes ago. I lost my shit on the podcast a few episodes. Go back if you want that, missed it. This message is not new that I'm getting ready to say again. We need stillness, rest, a firm understanding of our talents, our dreams, to insist on creating the conditions that we work best in. Not just settling for whatever to prove ourselves. Is this the first time you've heard that? No. Is there broad change happening with that? Also no. So something's got to give. And because we're always working off of old patterns, out of our subconscious science, we are constantly perpetuating that I've got to prove myself and work harder, and sacrifice myself at all costs, or I'm not good enough, or I'll fall behind, or I won't make enough money. That's this old patterns of norms and behaviors that are keeping us stuck. And all of it, as I said, this external prove myself. So we have this external motivation happening. So if you can't make the changes for yourself, if we're so motivated externally, then consider doing it for others. If you can't take care of yourself for yourself, do it for your kids. Do it for your grandkids. I don't care what the motivation is. I just am begging you to see it differently, to change. Because honestly, if we want a different world for our kids and our grandkids, it starts with us. So if you spend this next week zooming out and becoming aware of your behaviors, I want you to see that awareness. Literally, I want us to be like you rise up and are watching yourself go through your days, and your nights, and your week. And I want you to ask yourself, what are your kids seeing? What behaviors are you passing on to them about working harder and always being willing to sacrifice your own needs and desires? And then ask yourself, is that what I want for them? Because no matter what you say to your kids, it's your behavior that's speaking louder than your words. And I had this experience 10 years ago with my son who's now 25. He was 15. I remember the day vividly. I actually told this story at the Stand Tall In Your Story event on March 8th, on International Women's Day. I remember this day vividly. I can tell you what I was wearing. I can tell you everything about this day. And I'm rushing around early one morning trying to get out the door, looking for all the stuff I need to spend my day with clients. And I can hear the high heels clumping on the hardwood floor, racing from room to room, gathering things. And finally got to the kitchen counter. And I threw my laptop in the bag and just gave a deep sigh. And standing there at the kitchen counter waiting on his ride to school is Cameron, my son. And he heard my deep sigh and he said, " Mom, I really appreciate how hard you work. I recognize that we wouldn't live in this beautiful home. We wouldn't get to go on great vacations. We wouldn't have a lot of the things that we have that I noticed that other people don't, if it wasn't for how hard you work." He said, " So I want you to know that I am absolutely grateful." He said, " But I also have watched you, and I just don't know if I want to work that hard. I don't know if that's the life that I want." And it was like that moment froze for a minute. And I thought, " Oh my gosh, is he going to have to choose? Is he going to have to choose a nice house over a calm life? Is he going to have to give up things that he wants because he doesn't want to have to work as hard?" Can you have both? No. In my patterns and behaviors of my past, in my experiences, and everything that peers, and colleagues, and people that I looked up to had modeled for me, was that there was sacrifice and stress involved with success. That's just the way it was. And that the most successful were the people that enjoyed their work, but were still willing to give it all. And it was this moment of... Because you want your kids to have the life that they want. And I thought, " I wonder which one he'll pick." Fascinating. And then we jetted off for the day. And as luck would have it, just a few months later, I was able to spend two entire months pondering that exact thought. Because I ended up with pneumonia so sick, that I couldn't leave our house except for doctor's appointments, for two months. That's a wake-up call. And it was in that two months of reflection, of zooming out and becoming aware of my behaviors, of my thoughts, of my actions. That the life that I was trying to live was not sustainable. It had literally made me sick. From the frenetic pace that I was living, the mountains of personal stress that I was refusing to deal with, it all just sat me down. And because of that experience, I'm grateful to say that I have transformed my life. And you absolutely can have a beautiful life and money. You can have meaning and money. You can have purpose, and peace, and prosperity. You can have both, but you got to make some changes. And you got to be really intentional about it. I am so passionate about this work of helping others ban burnout, because I don't want you to get there. I want to teach you how to do this, to zoom out, and become aware, and make the transformation without a near death experience or dramatic sickness. That was a moment in time I won't forget either. One particular day, everybody was gone. It was just Cameron and I in the house. I was on the couch again, so sick. And it was a weekend, so he wasn't at school. And I said, " Hey, will you sit with me today and you can rent as many movies as you want? Just wake me up in between each one." Because I was so sick, that I was afraid if I slept too long, I wouldn't wake up. And I of course didn't tell my son. That was what I was afraid of. But I remember that feeling of being completely vulnerable, that I wasn't really in control of nearly as much as I thought I had been in my life. And so this matters to me a lot, that we change this. I don't want my kids, or my grandkids, or you, or your kids to ever experience this again. So what can we do about it? That's always the thing. Okay. How do we fix it? Well, I've been telling you how, but I can't get you to do it just yet. Some of you are. Some of my clients are having amazing transformation. So here's the takeaway today. I want you to look at your week and ask yourself what you can do to prioritize being before belonging. Because that's the flip of the script that we need. Belonging connection is important. It's a fundamental aspect of thriving. But the being has to come first. So practical ways that you can do this. Very practical. Turn off your phone at night. Put it on airplane mode. Shut your laptop at 5: 00. Say no. Ask for more realistic deadlines, or just ask for clarification on what the deadline is instead of assuming it's now or tomorrow. Stop working on your vacation. Stop working on your day off. Stop working on the weekends. Here's a test. Go back and read the last out of office response that you put on your email. Did it say that you'll get back to somebody in 17 seconds? Does it say, " I'm out, but I'll be checking email occasionally if you need something"? Let's stop doing that. In fact, many gazillions of you will be leaving on spring break soon. You might be there now. Why don't you put on your out of office, " I'm out enjoying some time to rest and rejuvenate with my family. And I can't wait to talk with you in seven days, 10 days, two weeks," and just let it be. Let it be okay that you're going to go get some rest. And instead of getting up every day on your vacation, and doing some work, and activating your nervous system before your kids and you go to the beach, why don't you not do that? Why don't you go take a nice walk on the beach and get your nervous system regulated so you're a great, fun, active part of the day? Not thinking about Jane in accounting, or Joe the jerk client. Just give yourself a break to be. I mean, I lost my shit about this a few weeks later on the podcast. But I love and care about you. And I see so many people running themselves into the ground, sick and tired. I'm tired of seeing you sick and tired. So let's stage the uprising of the conscientious to be far more focused of our own needs, of our own being. Instead of feeling like pleasing everyone else is going to make us feel better. If we stage that uprising and we all do it together, then we get real momentum, and movement, and change. And then others will look at us and go, " Oh my gosh, this is possible? Yay. Pick me." So I created this experience called a Thousand Thriving Women to give you the tools and the opportunity to join this movement. Let's make some real change, y'all. It's possible. I have so many clients that I can point to that have made this shift. But what makes it hard to stay there is we need more of us joining in on this movement so it doesn't feel like swimming upstream all the time. So click the link in the show notes and join me. And if you're a guy, hi. I'm glad you're here. And let's do some one- on- one coaching. This experience is for women, but I can work with you one- on- one. I can help you. It's time. It's just time to be first, and then belong. And making that shift will make all the difference. For you, for your kids, your grandkids. And they'll be able to say, " Man, I want to live that life that I see my mom, or dad, or aunt, or uncle." Truly stuff that they can look up to, to have a thriving life. Healed, whole, healthy, prosperous, doing good work, making a difference. Let's do that. All right, I'm counting on you jumping in. Thanks so much y'all. Love you, mean it. (singing) Thanks for listening to this episode. I would love it if you would leave a rating and a review on Apple Podcast, and then go to wethrive. live. First thing you'll see is a place to drop your email and join the movement. I'll send you tools that you can use to thrive in life and business( singing) Hey y'all, fun fact. Did you like the music for the podcast? That is actually my son, Cameron Hession. And I would love it if you would go to Spotify and iTunes, and follow him and download some of his other music. My personal favorite is TV Land.
"What if I told you that the responsible, organized, hardworking, goal-oriented people of the world are responsible for perpetuating and exacerbating burnout?"
Burnout. It's been a big topic lately, and rightfully so. Many are feeling this, but how do we get out of it? It's time to ban burnout. Today, Rebecca takes us through the first three stages of burnout and begins breaking down how we can end this vicious cycle before it can even start.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- A better understanding of the three stages of burnout
- How we can find motivation to make necessary life changes
- How to find a life of peace, prosperity, and purpose