Shall we play a game of true or false? Come on, it’ll be fun!
Ok, here goes.
I ran a 5k once so now I can just put on my running shoes and run a marathon – true or false?
I did some reps with my 15 kg dumbbells so now I’m ready to win the Olympic weightlifting team – true or false?
Ok, how about this one …
I went to bed really early last night as I’ve been feeling a bit run down over the last few weeks, and I can now limit my sleep for the rest of the year and stay healthy – true or false?
In case you need me to tell you the answers, they are false, false, and false, but you know that already.
So why when it comes to wellbeing in the workplace do you think that one event a year is going to make the difference for you and your people?
When I started my career in HR back in 1998, I wanted to stop the Monday-to-Friday dying syndrome that I saw so many of my friends and family experiencing on a daily basis.
I genuinely wanted to...
What do you use your weekends for?
Rest, recharge, or recovery?
In the months and years leading up to my Burnout, weekends were about recovering from the work week that had been, and then just like a wind-up toy, I’d pop back into action, back into robot mode for the next week.
And like clockwork, I could tell you when I’d crash during my Christmas break, once I’d been the hostess with the mostess for family and friends for three days.
And not forgetting my summer holidays where I’d ended up with ‘flu’ aching and unable to move, but I forced myself to have fun with my family so that I didn’t disappoint them.
During the lead-up to Burnout, the stress is what keeps you going.
The good old primitive brain and the fight/flight response keep you moving to try and keep you safe.
In the days of hunter-gatherers, you wouldn’t sit down and have a break and a picnic with your friends whilst surrounded by wild animals, you’d be eaten alive,...
Currently, without even realising it, many more of you will be Primitive Leaders, rather than Innovative Leaders, and it’s impacting you, your people, and your performance.
As your stress levels increase you move from the intellectual part of the brain, the part that always gets things right in life, innovates, and sees possibilities, to the primitive part of the brain, the part where your fight and flight sits, the part where you can operate from previous patterns of thoughts and behaviours, the part that sees you in panic mode, always on the lookout for the next imminent danger.
The primitive part of the brain is what kept the hunters safe when we all lived in caves. It wasn’t weighing up whether any of the wild animals had eaten and encouraging you to sit down in the middle of the field and have a picnic with your friends, it was keeping you on red alert, and keeping you safe.
And it’s this red alert, that many Exec teams have been living...
The Gender Gap and why #EmbracingEquity won’t fix it!
Today we’ll see our feeds filled with stock photos of women hugging each other and themselves, we’ll see organisations talking about all that they are doing to #EmbraceEquity in their organisations whilst they bring out the bunting and balloons and provide a round of applause to all of the women in their workplace.
Don't get me wrong, I love a celebration (as long as it's a quiet, not over-stimulating one), and I love celebrating the incredible women in my life and in the world. But I’m done with paying lip service whilst we still see very little actual change in practice. And, until there actually IS equity, for all, there's nothing to embrace!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a bush for the last few years, you’ll know that I talk about Burnout A LOT! And whilst I work with men and women, the number of women I work with, who all come to me with the same issues as clients, or just to...
How can we raise our awareness of what's happening to us when we self-sabotage and are there any repeating patterns we can look out for?
I’m not perfect and I still have these old patterns and old behaviours of self-sabotage that can still come up to the forefront, either when I’m not in my best place or if I’ve been letting go of my non-negotiables.
What happens to our brains, to our thoughts when we end up in this fight, flight, freeze mode? What can happen when our stress levels increase and when we’re not putting our wellbeing first and doing what is best for us?
It’s in this state that we can fall into our old patterns and even though we know that we’re doing things that aren’t good for us, there is that part of our brain that just tells us to keep going.
I invite you to give the self-sabotaging part of you a name. I’ve got 3 parts that I recognise within myself. Twins called Edna and Edith and The Warrior within.
The True Cost of Burnout
Burnout, as we know, is chronic workplace stress, and it sucks! It takes a long time to take hold of you and a long time to recover from it. And still, the number of people reaching burnout continues to rise. And it’s probably no surprise that after the last few years, with global events our need to keep pushing, the increase in stress levels, and the need to prove ourselves worthy and good enough, have contributed to these growing numbers.
As we continue to move from one stressful event to another in our outside world, there doesn’t appear to be a time anytime soon that we’ll see burnout numbers decrease.
And I hate to be doom and gloom in your inbox, but if we’re going to reduce, or ideally prevent burnout, then something needs to change.
I keep seeing posts and articles about who is to ‘blame’ for burnout. Is it the employer or the employee? Surely if chronic workplace stress is what’s causing...
Are You A Superhero?
I am not a superhero, and yet in the few years before I burned out, many of my friends, family, and colleagues would describe me as one.
“You’re like a superhero, I don’t know how you do it all”
And on the back of my leaving card as I moved from my penultimate internal role to my final internal role, the Head of Comms and Marketing, Simon, added to the messages of praise for my high-performing, over-achiever ridiculously high standards with this image.
Whilst I have never considered myself to be a superhero, a wonder woman or a superwoman, I can’t deny that the views of others, who saw me as a superhero of sorts, drove me to keep performing at the level I was performing at.
The endless juggling.
Each promotion came in very quick succession to the next.
The non-stop project work and continuous improvements.
The increased performance stats and the targets were all met,...
How steep is the hill?
Last week really took it out of me.
#ThisIsBurnout was incredible, overwhelming in ways I hadn't imagined, emotional, tiring, and uplifting, all in one. My usual routine went out of the window, I'd added two additional things in that I should have said no to, and whilst I was expecting to be tired, I wasn't expecting to be as exhausted as I was. Plus, I'd been sat down for far too long each day, not something I normally do.
My partner Mick and I went on a long walk with Elysa, our rescue pooch, a beautiful Japanese Akita. Mick has done the route a couple of times with his brother in the past, it was a new one for me, and whilst it was lovely, it was a bloody killer.
The distance was less than four miles, not a length that would normally phase me, and not too much less than I walk with the dog on a daily basis, but with more inclines and a big hill back to the car at the end, my calves are still aching.
The hills on the walk made me think back to a...
In a world full of polarities where one side of the fence is telling you to do more, hustle harder and push yourself to the limit, the other side is telling you to do less, focus on less, and be surrounded by less if you really want to succeed.
If I’m honest, I’ve mostly lived on the hustle-harder side of the fence. A fierce overachieving, high-performing, recovering perfectionist who struggles with ‘slow and steady’, with one pace, fast. If you want sh!t doing, I’m your woman. I gave up on ‘to-do’ lists years ago, instead having a ‘get done’ list, where if it’s down it's done, and I’ve always stuck with that.
In my corporate career, I was the innovator, the rebel, the first one to try things differently, always striving for more, always working harder, always coming up with new ideas and new ways to do things, and it’s been pretty much the same in my own businesses since I left the corporate world in...
One of the first things I usually find myself working with my clients on, is setting and maintaining boundaries, because without boundaries, the people-pleasing, guilt, frustration and stress continues to grow, and we know that these things can lead to burnout.
POWER-FULL Boundaries are a promise to yourself and others where you clearly state what you will do, and won’t do, in a given situation. The purpose of setting POWER-FULL Boundaries is to set reasonable limits, protect your energy, your sanity and your time, so that you feel more calm, more in control and much more stress-LESS. POWER-FULL boundaries help you to become rich in time, energy, calm, and joy, BUT, you have to actually maintain them and enforce them in order for them to work!
Many of the clients that I work with say they struggle with implementing boundaries because they hate saying no to people, the trouble is, you’re already saying no, to yourself, ALL. OF. THE. TIME.
Many clients also...