Burned Out to Biz Boss

Lessons From a Recovering Workaholic

July 18, 2020 Stacie Mitchell Episode 6
Burned Out to Biz Boss
Lessons From a Recovering Workaholic
Chapters
Burned Out to Biz Boss
Lessons From a Recovering Workaholic
Jul 18, 2020 Episode 6
Stacie Mitchell

Why do we all work so much and struggle to rest? Stacie shares her story as a recovering workaholic and how she finally overcame it -- and how you can too.

Interested in joining Stacie's free Facebook group? Learn more here!

Show Notes Transcript

Why do we all work so much and struggle to rest? Stacie shares her story as a recovering workaholic and how she finally overcame it -- and how you can too.

Interested in joining Stacie's free Facebook group? Learn more here!

Hello my lovely listeners!

I hope everyone is doing well this week! We’re doing well here in North Carolina though I will admit to having a tough time this week and I wanted to tell you all about it, because I think too often coaches pretend like our lives are perfect and that we never have bad weeks.

Bad weeks happen. They are expected, and I’d say especially so in the midst of all of the change and craziness that’s currently happening. There are circumstances I find it harder to stay neutral over right now, which I’m sure so many of you are feeling with me.

I don’t live close to family, and that brings with it a ton of feelings in the midst of this pandemic. I don’t feel particularly safe flying, especially when it could put my loved ones at higher risk after I arrived to visit them.

Add it to it the huge amount of change I’m experiencing in my work life, and even the growth in my business, and WOW! Things felt a bit intense for me this week! 

And if you follow me on Instagram Stories or you’re in my Facebook group, you also know that I rescued a baby squirrel this week. Its rescue took over my entire afternoon and evening while we were waiting for its mom to come back while keeping it warm and also keeping watch so no other animals tried to swoop in. Ultimately, the mom didn’t want it - heartbreaking! - but we were able to take it to a wildlife rehab center which I am so grateful for. Whiskers the baby squirrel is now cuddled up with two other squirrel babies and is doing just fine.

I tell you all of this because as much as I’ve worked on my thoughts, there are times that it is hard to hold on to the new beliefs and thoughts I’m creating. I also want to let you know that this work: coaching and everything that goes with it - is never meant to make your life perfect, it’s never meant to make life more than 50/50 -- it will always be 50% great and 50% not so great, right? Life was never meant to be easy, and I think the idea that it’s supposed to be can actually be much more harmful to all of us.

I really don’t want my clients to practice spiritual bypassing -- to pretend to be okay when they’re actually not. The world has too much of that already. It’s okay to have sucky days and to cry and to be mad sometimes. That’s just life.

And I want to let you know that you can still grow and move towards something better in your life and feel bad half the time. That’s okay! There’s no medal for pretending to be happy 100% of the time! It’s really okay

And I actually think the true magic lies where you can not feel okay and still BE okay. To know that everything will work out, that the bad feelings will end, and that the feelings are just sensations in your body that will pass just like the good feelings also pass. 

I don’t just teach my clients to change their thoughts and then everything is hunkydory for the rest of their lives. I think we all know that it’s not realistic. I also teach clients to process their emotions instead of running away from them. I teach them it’s okay to cry or to sit with their anxiety or to feel their anger, instead of trying to fix it or numb it with Netflix or scrolling social media or working too much or drinking or eating too much. 

I think it’s important to know that if you’re trying to heal your burnout you’re going to have weeks where you really struggle. That is totally normal! You are trying to heal something that likely started years before it got to its worst. There are lots of underlying thoughts and emotions and habits there that will need to shift and that just doesn’t happen overnight.

Something that can slow your progress is feeling like you’re a failure at coaching. That doesn’t help you! If you’re judging yourself about your thoughts and feelings, you are literally making yourself feel more bad for feeling bad. That’s the worst! It’s much better to go into the work knowing that there will be hard times and that you can totally overcome them.

Honestly, some of the most important work you can ever do is to create the self awareness of when you’re having a bad day, and still know deep inside that it doesn’t mean anything is necessarily wrong. Too many of us, myself included sometimes, have a bad day and then let it ruin a perfectly good week, whereas if I’d just let it be and realized it was an off day, I could have bounced back a lot faster. I made it mean something more than what it really was. 

Now I’ve spent almost half the episode on this when I didn’t really even mean to, but I think it’s super important so I’m okay with that.

Now on to my actual topic for this week: Lessons from a recovering workaholic.

I am someone who really enjoys work, at least when it’s work that lights up my soul. For me, it’s naturally very, very hard for me to turn off work mode. Before I started coaching, my brain would always be thinking of what I should do next. My brain used to be on the lookout for more to do all the time. This was just its baseline mode and honestly it was pretty exhausting!

And when I could see all the things it needed to do still I’d get caught up in a pretty exhausting loop. I’ll give you an example: I love keeping a really clean home. I used to be obsessed with it honestly. But the thing about cleaning is that it’s never really done is it? You clean something really well and then the next day it’s not so clean anymore. You wash clothes but then there’s more to wash within hours. You clean the bathrooms but you know you’ll still have to clean them again next week. This kind of thing used to make me crazy! And honestly in both my full time job and in my business now this kind of loop still exists -- the work literally will never have an end unless I just quit -- and even then - it actually DOES continue somewhere else if we’re being honest with ourselves!

And it wasn’t until I reading one of my favorite books which is called Slowing Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson, which I read years ago,  that it became clear that my to-do list will never be done until I’m dead… there’s literally no way to get rid of things you have to do y’all! I think that’s when I had the realization that it didn’t actually matter if I introduced better time management or productivity hacks if I could never allow myself to relax with the spare time I created.

There’s always going to be a never-ending list of things I either should do or really want to do. And for me it’s both. I want to write a book, I want to travel the world, I want to learn reiki and breathwork and get trauma certified and all kinds of things to become a  better coach. I want a lot. But until I was able to teach my brain that it’s okay if I don’t do all of those things at once or today or even this year, I was always working too much or at the very least thinking about work all of the time -- which is also almost just as exhausting when it gets down to it, isn’t it?

The bottom line is that every single one of us only have so much “life force” or energy each day. We can potentially create greater energy from living well, sleeping enough, working out, eating well, but we can’t pretend as if humans can just keep going and going and never call a time out to recharge -- we just don’t work that way. 

If we look to Chinese medicine, illness and I would say burnout included, happens when there’s an imbalance in yin and yang. Yin is rest. Yang is activity. You need both and you need a balance to thrive instead of just survive.

What most of us do, especially in Western cultures, is pretend like we don’t need Yin at all or like we just barely need it, instead of actually realizing that we need much more balance between rest and work. 

And what’s interesting about my workaholic past is that for the most part, I haven’t worked crazy hours in my jobs. I’ve had very solid boundaries in arriving and leaving work. But I haven’t always been great at turning my work brain off. And the thing about burnout that most experts don’t ever talk about, is that it’s really about more than just your job or your work. 

To me, it starts with your mindset about EVERYTHING. Most of the research on burnout focuses on our jobs, but in reality, I think there’s a workaholic mindset that exists outside of our work -- meaning, you can turn anything into work. You can turn a weekend family retreat into work, by having crazy expectations of your family, or yourself, of the activities you’ll do. 

This actually brings to mind how my husband and I used to take vacations. We would CRAM our schedules full from morning to night, planning out every single activity we wanted to do and literally exhausting ourselves on our own vacations. You would laugh at me to know how many times I have burst into tears while on vacation due to just plain exhaustion. It’s totally insane! 

Now we actually take things slow on vacation, we don’t get up early every day, we are much more intentional and practice more constraint - so that a vacation is actually restful instead of exhausting.

But I think we all know people who can never slow down, they say they want a vacation, but as soon as they’re lying somewhere on the beach, they get antsy. They want to be doing something, they feel like something is missing. They are so used to running and pushing themselves all of the time that they don’t know how to relax. They feel anxious when they try to relax. And this really goes back to the underlying beliefs and stories they may not even realize they have about themselves and about work.

I used to follow the old adage, “Work first, play later”, but for my brain...there was always more work to be done. There was always something else I could do at work, in my business, or at home...so that play was so rare or really even just stressful, because all I could think about was what I “should” be doing instead.

If you live in a Western culture, you have likely been brainwashed to think that hard work creates success - that hustle is the way to get your dreams. You see “overnight” success stories and don’t see the years of consistent work and rest that it took to get to that success. We think we can get “there” faster if we just turn off the need to recharge. But what that really does is burn us out and slow us down. So that we never can get ahead at all. 

And when we get so exhausted that we have to rest, we fight it internally. We tell ourselves we’re lazy, that we shouldn’t need to rest so much, that there’s something wrong with us. We compare ourselves to the super moms and the successful entrepreneurs and the superstars at work. We only rest because we can’t go on. We don’t choose it for ourselves. And when we feel better again, we go back to our old ways, because we never changed the narrative. 

We view rest as weak. We view it as unnecessary. We lie and tell ourselves that we’re just lazy and that we can do better.

This is why coaching is so important to overcoming burnout. And this is why my coaching is the best solution for it. 

The majority of coaches will start with your actions - to get more rest, to play more, to put boundaries in place - but until you realize that your thoughts and your beliefs are determining literally every single thing you do every day, the actions won’t stick around for good. 

It’s like your taking drug that helps with the symptoms but doesn’t actually fix the underlying problem. 

Even now, I can struggle with this. I love doing, I love taking action. I really enjoy it! But my beliefs aren’t the same. I know realize that great success can’t come without rest. That creativity dies without recharging. That I can’t be an effective coach without taking time for myself. I know deep down that I am worthy of rest and worthy of disconnecting. In fact, I would say it’s my absolute duty as a burnout coach to rest and recharge regularly. Because who wants a burnout coach who is burned out herself, right?

If you are absolutely sick of having this workaholic mindset, I can help you. It doesn’t start with productivity tricks or time management or quitting your job or even taking a vacation, it starts on the inside - in your brain.

I still have 2 spots open in my group coaching program spark+soul, where we’ll work on this and so much more for 8 weeks. If you want to learn more and apply, go to staciemitchell.com/spark.

I also currently have a spot open for one-on-one coaching. I’ve been fully booked for the last couple of months, so if you want in on this work, just email me at [email protected] to book a free consult call. 

Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful week ahead! Stay cool out there! Bye friends!