6 Signs that You’re Burned Out

Clyde C. Lowstuter

All of us are wired.  We’re synched up.  Hardwired.  Your computer, tablet, e-reader, cell phone, car, home thermostat, security system, and every electronic device that you own has an operating system. Your many OS’s need to be upgraded from time to time to maintain optimal performance.  Likewise, you also have well-developed operating systems – physiologically, behaviorally, emotionally, and psychologically – that require adjustments for you to operate smoothly, lest you get fried.

Each of us is hardwired a little differently and it requires a nuanced approach in order to live an optimal existence. It’s crucial to pay attention when you are stressed or anxious. It may be time to reflect and calibrate how you’re thinking, feeling, and behaving.

You’re Burned Out If You Are:

  1. Agitated, nervous, and exhausted most of the time.
  2. Angry toward everyone and everything and you don’t know why.
  3. Oblivious to the most obvious behavioral clues that you’re out of control.
  4. Feeling rudderless and uncertain about how to act or even what to say at times.
  5. Experiencing an undercurrent of helplessness and zero energy.
  6. Generally unproductive and lacking creativity, on or off the job.

The key to extinguishing your burnout is to immerse yourself in the core beliefs that ground you, while focusing on the underlying values that give you purpose and direction.  Scrutinize the things that have been profoundly important to you and have brought you joy and deep peace.  Maybe you need to lighten up and give yourself permission to take a break . . . or a nap. It may even be time to hang up your Super Hero cape!

To function effectively with others it is critical that you become increasingly self-aware and mindful of what you are thinking and feeling, and how you are behaving.  When I was working on my newest book 35 Truths last year I unintentionally upgraded my own OS.  While the purpose of writing the book was to identify significant learnings over R|L’s 35 years, I received much more.  After combing through years of my R|L speeches, workshops, manuals, and books, I had a huge list of important core values. When I narrowed this list to the top 35, I found myself reigniting around those values.

I felt an increased sense of being even more grounded and authentic . . . and more anchored in my beliefs.  My profound revelation was that we all need to take the time to reboot our beliefs and values.  We must take control of those dysfunctional behavior instant replays that undermine our personal power and effectiveness.  Doing so will reinvigorate our drive and solidify our ability to avoid burnout.

Best wishes for your continued success and may you always . . .
“Create Uncommon Results!”® 

It’s Your Choice

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

  • Is your attitude your destiny?
  • Who really is in control of you and your attitudes?
  • Which behaviors define you in frustrating circumstances?

Like thousands of people stranded at airports during the recent winter vortex, Carolyn and I, too, were frustrated by prolonged delays and 7 cancelled flights. In similar pastAirport Crowd experiences, I’ve witnessed incredibly rude, arrogant, and aggressive behavior at airports and rental car counters.  Adults having tantrums revealed quite a bit about their lack of impulse control and resourcefulness.

However, in this recent storm, with its minus 15 below temperatures in Chicago, there was a marked difference in behavior at the Austin and Dallas airports where we were stranded for three days.  People were calm.  There were no hysterics by adults or kids. There was no pushing or cutting the lines, rather our fellow travelers were friendly and often magnanimous.  I witnessed one gentleman buy a bottle of water for a harried and frightened elderly woman.  Interestingly, there was a level of bemused commonality of a shared experience that bonded us all, albeit, informally.  Weary travelers all, folks introduced themselves to strangers, inquiring about travel plans, ages of kids, residences, and horror stories of families sleeping on cots at the airport.

Bottom line:  I was struck by how universally people chose to behave in a calm, open, and accommodating manner in the face of highly stressful conditions.

When in the midst of some tense discussions with a colleague what mindset might you hold to equally behave in a confident, generous, and authentic manner?

Take What You Do Seriously – But Not Yourself

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Roller CoasterEver feel alone and isolated at being the “captain of the ship?” When you are stressed, you can move through all of the emotional states (Mad, Glad, Sad, Shame, and Fear) in the blink of an eye – or you may get stuck in one disempowering emotional state for a long period of time. The reality is that your emotional states are fluid. You may feel that you have created emotional closure on a critical issue and that you have regained your confidence only to have an incident trigger your completely losing your cool.

This on-again, off-again emotional roller coaster ride is common to most everyone, at some point. This is especially true if you feel that you have been wronged, depreciated, deceived, or betrayed. Indeed, you may find that the coping skills that worked well before no longer seem to work as well as they once did.

In fact, it is not surprising that you may even feel more off balance now than when you were previously able to effectively objectify issues. Circumstances and people issues can change dramatically.

Success Tips:  

  • Lighten up. Hold yourself accountable, but don’t beat yourself up. It’s OK to be human. Learn from it. You control your emotions; don’t let them control you.
  • Acknowledge your emotional vulnerabilities; it is a powerful method of integrating and embracing your “wholeness” or your authentic self.
  • Know that everyone has felt vulnerable, uncertain, and afraid at some time in his/her life. You are not the only one who has these feelings, though they certainly feel personal and unique to you now.
  • Remember, you’ve been successful before; you’ll be successful again.

QUESTION FOR BLOG READERS – What 3 actions can a person take within 24 hours to enhance his/her boldness, confidence, and enthusiasm?

3 Signs Your Career Is Derailing

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Bent TrackI’m the poster boy for a derailed career path.  I discovered the hard way that people are terminated, not for the lack of competency, rather for the lack of cultural fit and personal chemistry with the immediate manager.  It took me a while (and perhaps you, as well) to eventually realize that I, alone, was accountable for my exit.  You are probably derailing if you:

1.  Lack Widespread Endorsement

You could be the most competent person in your company, but if you don’t/can’t build widespread organizational endorsement, you are at profound risk if your relationship with your boss stalls out.

TIP:  Look for ways to support/endorse your boss and other cross-functional colleagues.

2.  Deflect Accountability

Excuses don’t cut it, nor does blaming others. Many employees are emotionally devastated (enraged and/or depressed) after being involuntarily separated.  However, with a bit of probing, they admit that they were bored, disenchanted, or did not meet performance expectations or manage their relationships well enough.  Invariably, displaced individuals thought of exiting, long before they are asked to.  Nevertheless, they were usually upset that the company pulled the trigger before they did.  I know I was.

TIP:  Own your exit, regardless of how badly you feel about your circumstances.  I personally discovered that there is no power in being victim.

3.  Are Overwhelmed & Stressed Out

How you act will have a direct and profound impact on your career longevity. Career uncertainty and distress often bring out the worst in people.  If you are feeling overwhelmed and more than a little panicked, it may manifest itself as your pushing others around – being a bully.  Take a breath.  Lighten up.  Apologize for any disempowering behavior.  Visualize what success might look like.  Identify 3 positive steps you could take right now to get back on track.

TIP:  Begin to be seen as confident and competent in the manner you’d like others to believe.  Start again.

Stress – It’s the Super Glue® of Emotions

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Tube of GlueEver get your fingertips fused when you were working with Super Glue®?  Recently, I was diligently gluing something together, and without realizing it I became one with the object.

Stress is like that sometimes. Even though you are confidently engaged in a project, you might unexpectedly find yourself stressed out over something or someone.

Stress – it’s natural, normal, and ever present.

Stress can be motivating or debilitating, depending on the meaning you attach to it. The stress of change is often one of the most prevalent of all stressors. Most people would prefer remaining stuck in the status quo than to change.  Change represents a migration from the comfort of what’s known to uncertainty.  Leaving the familiar is one of the most courageous acts you can ever perform, especially when you are shaky emotionally, as people usually are in Career Transition.

Rather than fearing your stress, this week embrace it.  Recontextualize your stress as a signal that you are about to embark on a fascinating and exciting adventure as you move towards a new career path, a new role, a new company.  Imagine the possibilities when you push beyond your stressors from a disempowered state to being empowered. You are ready to become more of who you are.  Be ready to notice the difference this makes for you this week in how you approach and are received in the marketplace.

Tell us how you’ve pushed through your stressor to be more effective, joyful, and powerful.

Carpe diem!