Saving Yourself from the Brink of Burnout
This week has been tough. I have not been my happiest. As a result, my productivity and creativity have not been at its peak. I realized this was a problem as I found myself stressing while relaxing.
I realized that my cabinets and refrigerator were pretty bare. Not good when you have very hungry little people who like and depend on a good snack.
I found myself feeling depleting giving my best to my work and family leaving little for myself.
Here is the thing. No matter where you are in the spectrum of clinical work: line therapist, director, owner, consultant…we all have these moments. I work with many clinical directors and owners and it’s almost a level of shame to feel and discuss that burden of clinical leadership. I call it a burden because it’s different from other models of corporate management in that we get to see the impact our work through our clients. We are servant leaders.
Servant leadership intermingles the service portion and the hard-lined decisions that we have to make as leaders. When you are in an environment where you are more accessible to employees it is even more difficult to have critical conversations because there is no 19th floor or even layers of corporate bureaucracy as a barrier.
And did I mention. Leading is difficult and can be lonely.
So here are a few things you can do to pull yourself from the brink of burnout. And please, I will not insult you by telling you to take time for yourself or get a hobby.
- Be honest with you. If it’s hard. Say it is hard. If it sucks, say that too. No need to keep walking with you arm hanging off and telling everyone you are fine.
- Read this book by my friend Shannon Cohen “Tough Skin. Soft Heart”
- Check your circle. I have a handful of people who are for me. They care about me. They are not people who love me for the work that I do (they appreciate it), but they are care about my heart, my mind, my family, my health. Keep it real with those people.
- Don’t carry the burden of leadership alone. If a staff person makes an error, tell them and teach them how to be better. When you invest in this way, you slowly begin to delegate. Dr. Brene Brown’s research in vulnerability has been critical for me in leading as well as coaching.
- Be intentional about forgiving yourself for mistakes you make. Leaders fail all the time. The servant leader carries a social media perfection badge that no real person can live up to. If you can make errors, be honest about them, transparent with your staff. You then shift the culture of accountability versus supporting a culture of messup-clean up secret shame.
- Take off your cape. Stop being superhuman and apologizing for pregnancy, illness, vacations, and the like. When you become real, your expectations for people that work for you can be leveled. They see you as human too. And if they don’t, that has nothing to do with you.
- As your business grows or changes, keep repeating steps 1 through 6.
When you put these steps into practice with consistency, you will then be able to take time for yourself and be present in your relaxation. Letting go of perfection is important to your survival and ultimate ability to thrive.
On my board in my office, hanging on the wall, have written a reminder to myself “Landria you are here to please an audience of ONE”. When my going is tough and I have to make harder decisions, this draws me near and keeps me focused on who I am and where I find my worth. Because of this, words like “embarrassed, what will people think, reputation” are not words that drive my movement nor that of my business.
Professional identify and personal identify are two that add to the multidimensional you. It is important to understand the authentic you that lives in both and begin to lead from the space of compassion and authenticity towards yourself.
Landria Seals Green, Therapy Biz Coach
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