Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Fired Up or Burnt Out? There’s a fine line between the two.
It seems every third business article hitting my inbox and my daily LinkedIn feed has to do with managing burnout. It has certainly compelled me to pay close attention to my energy level and the energy level of others in my daily interactions.
I have the good fortune to work with several executives and teams across many organizations. Right now, the common thread amongst them all is they are working a lot of hours and have been working a lot of hours for a lot of months. However, there is a noticeable difference between them. And that is energy. Some are fired up and others are burnt out.
Reflecting on these differences, I found it was not whether they were "winning or losing" in this ever-changing environment, but rather whether they were doing these 3 very intentional things to remain fired up, to keep their teams fired up, and to avoid burnout.
1. Recognize and Celebrate Small Wins
The Power of Progress is proven to be the best motivator. We feel invigorated when we move forward toward our goals and when we help others achieve theirs. In times of uncertainty and when the end-goal seems large, the way to stay fired up is to feel a daily sense of accomplishment. In this virtual environment, it takes more effort. Actions my fired-up friends are consistently doing:
Random calls of thanks to their peers, their employees, and their clients
10-minute zoom sessions only to celebrate team progress or someone’s awesomeness
Daily win recap messages to a central place
Complimenting each other
Text messages to stay connected (often with emojis)
2. Brainstorm Improvements
We all want a better future, right? Fired up people have hope. They are thinking and talking creatively about options and taking measured risks on new ideas. They are contributing ideas and collaborating for the good of everyone’s future. They have a voice. Fired up people share these best practices:
Collaboration meetings that include more people than ever before
Looking for ways to eliminate the phrase, “that’s the way we’ve always done it”
Try new things and if they don’t work, celebrate being one step closer to what will work and then try again
Bring in some fresh eyes. Despite reductions in force, fired up people figure out how to bring in fresh perspectives. Maybe through podcasts and maybe it’s through hiring consultants. The point is, they get new ideas and experience new ways of thinking that lead to a better future for all.
3. Contribute Energy
Have you ever walked into a room of people and instantly wondered, "What's wrong?" no words were spoken, you just knew something was off. Conversely, have you walked in and immediately thought, "Yes! I like it here!"
It's the feel of the place; the energy. A board room, a conference room, or an office; you can sense the energy, or lack of it, the minute you step in.
I've had the opportunity to walk the halls of many corporate and office environments and have witnessed the energy and the "energy change" when various people (usually leaders) step in. It wasn't always a positive change.
How about now, in this virtual world? I can still sense the feel of the place. Can you sense energy? Are you creating it, building off of it, or depleting it? Energy creators do these things:
Make every interaction leaving others feeling good (they benefit, too!). Even in difficult conversations
Slow down and stay in the present. They don’t multitask during conversations.
Listen. It’s the skill everyone appreciates!
Make people laugh. They just find a way.
Take care of themselves. (it’s akin to the saying, put your oxygen mask on first in order to help others)
Coincidentally, as I am finalizing this blog, up pops a text from Dr. Mark Hyman, who I follow for health and wellness. It says,
Stress in all its many forms leads to inflammation. And inflammation kills the brain cells that help us make good decisions…
Do your part in saving brain cells – yours and others!