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BLOGLeadership

Recharge or Burnout – You Choose

By April 12, 2021No Comments

Why you must recharge your personal battery pack to perform at your best

Those last few days before the Easter break were tough and I was in desperate need of a recharge.  

Work was mental but I wasn’t complaining. 

Travel and in person events had started up – yeah! New online programs had meant many long days and way too many weekends of program design and recording.  Client briefs were coming in at speed for workshops and programs.  

The first school term has been hectic – our youngest started high school, our eldest started his Year12 HSC year and our middlest continued to experience mean girl drama at school. 

Way too many of our closest friends are facing family health crises and Jason and I are doing all we can to support them.  

And as if we didn’t have enough going on, we’ve decided to start planning out a new income stream and reshape our business plans.

I seriously felt I was dragging myself to the finish line of the long Easter weekend and a much anticipated few days away with my family. To be honest, I think I’ve been dragging myself to this holiday for the last 15 months (as an aside, I have subsequently spoken to so many people that feel the same after this past crazy year of mental, emotional and  physical challenge).

I wasn’t feeling physically exhausted. But my brain was well and truly fried.

A week away in the country sorted it. Time spent together, creating memories, chatting, reconnecting and the usual family bickering over board games. Phones were off (most of the time) and replaced with horse riding, bush walking, relaxing and doing nothing.  A day trip to Bathurst and driving Mount Panorama was a highlight for my P-plating teen and hubby – and their squeals of excitement are registered in my memory bank forever.

I have returned recharged and refreshed with a renewed intentionality around my own boundaries and performance habits.  But this also got me thinking about why so many of us prioritise the ever-growing and stress inducing “must do” lists above allocating regular time to switch off and reset.

Is everyday life leaving you drained? 

In today’s fast-paced, complex and changing world I wonder whether we are unconsciously being told to push past our limits – to not listen to our inner voices telling us to stop and relax, but instead listening to the external voices telling us to keep on going.

Between working all day, eating on the run, and having little time for fun and relaxation, it’s normal to feel exhausted at least some of the time. But always feeling worn-out or, as I call it, brain fried, isn’t healthy. It can leave you less productive and less happy at work and at home.

Burnout is real. Emotional and physical exhaustion is real. Brain fog is real. And the warning signs are there, but it’s too easy not to notice them. We keep going to work, totting up those hours, pumping our bodies in the gym, living on strange diets and then we wonder why we finally crash.

Sucking it up my friends will result in you f*cking it up.

Plain and simple!

Being exhausted isn’t leadership.

Being exhausted isn’t inspiring to others.

In fact, to build your business, to have the clarity of mind to make the right decisions at the right time, to inspire those around you to do the work that is needed, to support your clients…we all  need to realise we’re human. And being human means we need to switch off to recharge to ultimately be our best.  And this has to be a regular practice – not just at holiday time.

3 x Things to think about this week

1.Hack your time  

Why wait for holidays or long weekends to switch off? Why not hack your week, after all you should be in control of your own calendar.  

Take a look at the week ahead and block out some time to switch off and recharge.  We can, if we choose, switch off at any time. Commit to an official start and finish time for work. Block out no meeting time. Lock in 30 mins to read a book, schedule that walk, listen to some music and tune out, meditate, catch up with friends.  

And plan for that longer break.  I have clients that plan a long weekend out of their business every 90 days to recharge, others that schedule “reading weeks”, some that work a 6 week on, 2 week off cycle and others that are disciplined about a Friday off every 2 weeks. For me, given we still have school age kids, we run a cadence linked to school terms – so we are on during the term and switch off in the holidays.

We can turn off the craziness of the world every single day but it requires you to hack your time to commit to the mini recharge gaps and the longer refuel stops.

As Marcus Aurelius said in Meditations, 4.3.1, “People seek retreat for themselves in the country, by the sea, or in the mountains.You are very much in the habit of yearning for those same things. But this is entirely the trait of a base person, when you can, at any moment, find such a retreat in yourself. For nowhere can you find a more peaceful and less busy retreat than in your own soul…Treat yourself often to this retreat and be renewed.”  

2.Switch off the technology

So often others’ lives seem “perfect” on social media, but they rarely are. Feeling like you have to live up to certain expectations can be draining. Put social media and technology on pause. Set a time to switch your work phone off and do not check work messages or emails. It may be hard to start with because you are trying to break a well worn habit.  

A couple of years ago I was working with a CMO of a major tech company whose constant “on” addiction was significantly impacting his relationships and happiness. I set him a 21 day challenge to put a box at the front door and when he came in from work the phone and computer had to go in that box until the next morning. Of course it was hard at first but ticking his daily “I did it” chart (yep the sticker charts we use for kids can work for adults too!) changed his unhealthy connection to his phone. His relationship improved, his results improved, his productivity improved and his happiness skyrocketed.  So much so that he ended up getting a bigger and better job, moving his family overseas to San Francisco.   

Switching off the tech is a simple and highly effective strategy but one so many of us struggle with.  So this week – why not give it a go and see how you feel after 7 days,

3.Do something fun

Having fun is an important part of staying mentally healthy, switching off and recharging.  

We can get so bogged down in the monotony of the week that suddenly another month has gone by and we can’t believe how quickly time is passing.  Grab your journal and think about your last 6 months. Can you remember the amazing things you experienced each month? What about the fun stuff?  Or has the last 6 months been a blur of work and running around after everyone else?   

Plan something fun to do this week.  Something random. Something different. Something to lighten the moment and fuel that recharge.  For me I’m determined to learn to skate board before I turn 50 this year so I’m going to grab my son’s board and do some practice this weekend.  What about you

2 x Things I loved last week

1.“Career Advice Young People Should Heed”.

Bernard Salt, corporate advisor and media commentator,  wrote an interesting  article in The Weekend Australian called, “Career Advice Young People Should Heed”.  In his supporting LinkedIn post he wrote, “The most important attribute in the post-covid workplace will be the ability to network, to learn new skills. Post-covid workers will be more self-confident, articulate and sociable. Identify successful people 10-15 years older doing things that you admire or that interest you. Look at their work history and qualities. In the 1990s and earlier I read everything I could about social commentators in Australia and in the US. I was fascinated by their boldness of thought. They had written books; they had weekly columns. I knew where I wanted to get to. Then be persistent… over years. I see it as the responsibility of older generations to transfer skills, to create opportunities for the next generation. I see it as the job of the next generation to learn and to do their best.”.  I couldn’t agree more. Take a look here

2. Your job is to make the milk

There was some conversation in a Mastermind group of mine this week about the need to continually create, post, deliver and leverage content across social media platforms and how to do it effectively.  The conversation turned to this podcast episode where Frank Kern discusses the concept of the Self Milking Cow. He suggests that the sooner you realize making the milk is the most important thing you can do, and it’s the thing that only you can do, the more success you’ll have.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

1 x Action to take

✅ Take a look at your diary for the next 7 days, commit to an end time to your working day and build in 30 minutes of dedicated downtime.  What are you going to do with that time to recharge? 

Janine Garner

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