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How to Overcome Burnout with Yewande Faloyin
Sean: And now we move on to going to McKinsey, which is very interesting because you love the work, but you got burned out in 18 months. So I want to tackle that piece right there. What happened that made you burn out? And also, not a lot of people who love what they do realize that they’re burning out.
So maybe that’s what happened to you. When did you realize that I’m burned out? I lost love for this, and I shouldn’t be losing love for this because I love this. When was that time? And how did you? Overcome burning out.
Yewande: I’ve done a lot and I’ve had a lot of coaches myself. So I’ve worked through that process. But on burning out. It’s funny because if someone had asked me at the moment when I was burning out, was I burning out? I would have said haha, yeah, probably.
And just kept going, Yeah, but I don’t know actually. No, I know that I didn’t understand the extent of my burnout at the moment because you’re right like I loved. I love whether you love what you’re doing or not. And I work with a lot of people who have gone through burnout or they’re coming through burnout, or they’re trying to figure out how to prevent it in the future.
But I think at the moment, especially for overachievers, for people who are entrepreneurial, right? A lot of people listen to your podcast. You are entrepreneurial, you want more, you want more, you want to keep more, and you want greater impact. And sometimes we think that we have to do more to achieve more. Right. Which is not always correlated. Right?
You don’t have to, you can have a greater impact while doing less. If you’re being more strategic, if you’re delegating, if you’re doing all of that stuff. But at that moment, I knew it was like I could see that, like physically I was exhausted. I wasn’t sleeping, my mind was cluttered. I was emotionally stressed out.
But because I was still waking up, I was still delivering for my clients. I was still speaking like technically I was functioning. Yeah. So it can’t be burnout, right? If it was burnout, I’d be lying on the floor. I’d have fainted, which is silly looking back at it. But it’s very difficult at the moment.
I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced challenging burnout, but it’s difficult at the moment to see it because we don’t see ourselves. Right?
Sean: Yeah. That’s right. It’s hard to identify burnout. Very, very hard. Other people would see the signs way ahead of you.
Yewande: Exactly. And you asked about what I do differently now. There’s a process. This is subconscious for me now because I don’t think and I knock on wood that I would ever get to burnout again because it’s not part of the way that I live. It’s not part of my lifestyle anymore.
I think there was a pattern that I had before and that pattern is broken. But if you think about three different types of approaches to burnout, people either figure out, okay, I’m burnt out, I now need to fix it. That’s, that’s the one. Like, I like a cure.
The second is preventative where people go, all right, I have to sleep, I have to exercise, I have to make sure I do things to prevent myself from burning out, which is good because you’re kind of in the front at the forefront of it, but it’s still susceptible when you’re pushing the third, which is often where I am and where I often get my clients to, is seeing rest and the things that are anti burnout as the things that will help improve your performance and improve your leadership and improve your impact.
Because now if I think working less means that I have a greater impact, I’m not susceptible to burnout because of my whole way of working. Is anti the things that would get me to burn out. And it means that I have a greater impact.
Sean: So now I’m going to inject a little fun into that. Whereas there are so many thought leaders such as Elon Musk, for example, who will say, work hard and outwork your competition and outwork the rest of the world, because that’s when you’re going to be able to realize your vision for the company, for yourself, when you’re going to beat them black and blue and get way ahead of the game.
I know it’s controversial. What do you think about that? Because competition is very, very tough in our world. An age where Google is just one type and click away and information is rampant. You already know what your competitor’s pricing model is and so on. How do you beat the competition when you’re living life in such a way that you’re working less, as you said, for you to have more impact, wouldn’t that take away from your business’s growth and vision?
Yewande: It’s a really good question. The first thing that comes to mind is it depends on what you’re trying to achieve and what growth and vision and success mean for you. There’s sometimes an assumption that it means the same for everyone and it doesn’t. And I think. Even when I think about when I was burning out.
And what I see in my clients is when you’re even in that state, you lose focus on the important thing. What’s the thing you’re trying to achieve? So you’re just doing and doing and doing and doing with the assumption that it’ll get to where you want. Forget assumptions. Let’s start with what you are trying to achieve and then let’s be strategic and focused on that.
But I think often we don’t think about what we’re trying to achieve, so we just go, Oh yeah, if you work harder, you’ll achieve the thing, right? It’s almost like trial and error. And for me, that’s not the way I like to think about things. So that’s one thing. Now if I think personally about myself, I fundamentally believe, and this is just my belief that you don’t have to work harder to have a greater impact.
Now, in theory, that is true. But you could argue that if you think about exercise, um, if I do, let’s say I can do 20 push-ups, right? If I do 40 push-ups every day instead, does that mean I’m stronger? Maybe. If I do 80, does that mean I’m stronger? Maybe. If I do 160, does that mean I’m stronger? Maybe if I do a million a day, does that mean I’m stronger? Maybe not.
I probably would have torn a muscle at some point, either torn a muscle. I have no time for anything else. Um, there’s. There’s a curve. Yeah. So we have to understand that curve for ourselves and go, what am I trying to achieve and why am I trying to achieve it? Because if I’m damaging my muscle, I’m not creating more impact. I’m working harder. But I’m probably stressing that muscle.
I may be crippling the muscle. I may get to the point where the muscle doesn’t work anymore. But I’m still pushing and pushing and pushing and think it’s similar in leadership. So if it works for Elon Musk, that’s great. I’m not saying it doesn’t work for him, provided he’s clear about why that’s important. Why is that important now? But I don’t think in my experience that doesn’t work for a lot of people. And assuming that it does, I think it’s probably more detrimental to people creating the impact that they want than otherwise.
Sean: Yeah, for sure!
Yewande: What are your thoughts? I’m curious.
Sean: Well, I’m a family man. You can see the picture behind me. And I’m very sad when I heard that Elon Musk was going through a divorce in his first divorce. So for me, if you put too much time and emphasis and work on one area of your life, which is work.
It’s going to take away from the other more important things, and I do say more because I believe family is more important. I believe health is more important. I believe my spiritual life is more important. And in the picture of Stephen Covey, if you’ve read the book Seven Habits, he says that we juggle five balls in life. Four of them are glass, and one of them is a rubber ball. Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it’s going to bounce right back. No problem. Family, friends, health, and spirit. These are glass balls. If you drop one of them, they shatter to pieces and it takes a lot more work to put the pieces back together.
But even if you do, you see the cracks. So I try to live life that way. Don’t get me wrong, I do work hard, but I practice counterbalancing. I don’t believe in work-life balance. I believe in a work-life counterbalance. So I go hard at work and then I go hard at family. And then I make sure that work takes care of itself by putting really good leaders around me. So that’s my, you know Yewande it’s you I’m asking questions about.
Yewande: But I think that’s fair. No, but that’s very insightful. I like that. I like that a lot. And where you just said there, you said by putting leaders around you, like for me, that’s a perfect example of not just working harder, but being strategic and thinking about you, those leaders. You could probably do the things that they do.
You could decide, I’m just going to do all the work and I’m going to work the hardest possible. But you know, actually, my work life, my family life is important. That helps you counterbalance and it probably makes you a better leader. And then now you can think strategically about how you put people around you, right?
That’s greater impact than just being like, I’m the best and I’m going to wake up at 4 a.m. and sleep like, I don’t know, three hours or whatever.
Sean: I love your answer, which is that success is defined differently for every individual. As a businessman, for me, I consider myself more successful. If I have more time for myself and my family, that is the definition of success for me.
I don’t need to be a billionaire. I don’t buy luxury cars. I don’t have luxury watches, I wear a Seiko and I’m happy about that. So it largely depends on the individual. That’s why I put more emphasis on other more important areas of my life. You know, one of the biggest purposes of this podcast I mentioned to you in the pre-show is to build leaders. We’re a leadership institute. That’s the goal.
We build leaders and leaders will run the organization and you are doing the same. I want to know what you do to help these executives that you coach. To become more because people think, Oh, they’re already an executive.
They must know a lot, right? It’s only what’s there. Yeah, there you go. What’s the usual problem they present you with and how do you guide them? Through them. Through those problems?
Yewande: Yeah. What’s interesting is there was so much of what you said, which was so great. And like, the coach in me wants to ask you questions but will respect what you said. You’re asking me questions today. Um, it’s funny because we’re all human beings in the same way that I believe we’re all leaders.
We’re all human beings. So these executives do the same stuff that everyone else comes with, it’s just a different situation at a different level. So, for example, confidence comes up, doubting yourself and trying to prove yourself to others, which again, sometimes like and not to pick on Elon Musk, but when I hear language like that just in my area of expertise, coaching and mindset coaching when I hear things like have to beat the competition and wake up hard and do da da da da for me, that sounds like someone who’s trying to prove themselves right, whether it’s some version of themselves in their head or externally.
And while that can be helpful, what I find, especially with executives, is it creates doubt as well, because you’re now doing things for a reason. That’s not your purpose. That’s not it’s not intrinsic to what you believe success is. It’s more, oh my gosh, I need to do this because if I don’t do it, then Sean won’t believe that I’m capable of da da da da da or the world won’t think this. And so now the motivation shifts. So that’s a big thing that I see in executives.
And it makes sense because the pressure is higher, right? They’re more, they’re more people looking at you, they’re more concerned. And so a lot of the work that I do with them is let’s refocus. Let’s get clear on it sounds simple, but let’s get clear on what your purpose is.
What are you trying to achieve? What’s most important? Right. Let’s get your North Star clear and then do a lot of work on mindset, as I said, on what’s the mindset that’s driving what you’re doing? Is that working? Is that not working? It’s not working. Then let’s shift it.
Let’s learn how to break those patterns that are creating burnout, stress, pressure, and the things that are not getting you to your North Star. Let’s create new patterns that are more aligned with who you are, right? You know what’s working with you.
It’s like you’ve talked about spirituality, your family, and health being key for you. Let’s reconnect with that and use that energy to then drive what you’re doing going forward. And then we can start to look at strategy and actions, because often people go, I want to achieve this. What’s the strategy? I’m like, before we get to strategy.
Let’s get clear, let’s get your mindset and your energy. So it’s like a car, right? Put the right fuel in it and know where you’re going and you can go further. But if you just get in a car and you just start moving and you don’t know if you have fuel, yeah, it’s a bit of a mess. So that’s, that’s kind of some of the stuff that I work with my clients on.
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