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!”® 

What Would Robert Redford Do?

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

One way to tell if you’re stuck is a lingering sense of dissatisfaction without a clear solution or path.  I have to confess. Whenever I get stuck, I mean, really stuck, I ask myself, “What would Robert Redford do?”

When I’m nervous or fearful about the outcome of a Robert Redfordsituation, I search for a glimpse of how I envision Robert Redford would act in my exact situation. When I visualize him in my shoes, I feel more grounded and certain. How could I not be?  I have now become a persona of how I view Robert Redford:  confident, courageous, authentic, articulate, wise, and calm.

  • Who is your ideal role model, living or dead, real or imagined, with whom you identify?
  • What experiences, capabilities, characteristics, values, and beliefs make this person an ideal role model for you?
  • How might you personify and allow the traits of your role model to emerge from yourself?  What do you need to learn and unlearn to enable this to happen?
  • What stretch goals do you have that your new-found persona can readily achieve?  Specifically, what bold action will you now take?

Napoleon Hill once said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

I believe in you.  Do you?

Personal Branding – How Are You Showing Up?

Guest blogger: Clare J. Hefferren
President, Callosum Creative

Your resume may get you in the door.  Once inside, what will keep you there?  How will you stand out from your competitors?  How long will you be remembered?  Two minutes?  Two days?  Two months?  Two years?  It can take years to develop a business relationship.  How well do your communication, or soft skills, make you stand out?  An effective communicator is consistent, polished, and memorable in the areas of leadership, presence (body language), wardrobe/grooming, speaking, and etiquette.

Simply put, your personal brand is your reputation.  We are all born with one.  The question is, “Is it working for or against you?”  A personal brand is a collection of your attributes – skills, knowledge, and character.  It is a sum of personality, perception, and promotion.

The goal of personal branding is to align who you are with what you do.  When you align these you create a magnetic draw that brings opportunities and people to you.  You will be recognized and remembered far beyond a first impression.  A personal brand is an evolution.  As you change, your brand should change with you.

Who are you when you show up in a face-to-face conversation?  Does the same “you” show up everywhere or are you a chameleon based on the setting and audience?

Ask yourself: How does the world perceive me?  What is my reputation?

Working on your personal brand can be very unsettling.  You may struggle with “If I change, I’m not going to be myself.”  You may know you need to change, but how far do you go?  Unfortunately at times we’re stuck in habits and patterns.  If what you’re doing today is not serving your reputation, then something needs to shift.  It takes concerted effort to make this shift.  A new habit takes 30 days to stick.  At best, it takes six months to build and ease into a conscious personal brand.  It will feel like you’re being pushed out of the comfort zone.  That’s a necessity to get to the other side and see results.

There is a common misconception that modifying your personal branding is “fixing.”  In truth it is enhancing and strengthening your toolbox so you are perceived as authentic, current, passionate, and engaged in your life.  We invest in our homes (mortgage), our education (school loans), and our cars.  How often do you invest in your greatest asset – yourself?

Ask yourself: Who are you outside of the workplace?

Many people believe they are defined by their work role.  Wrapping your identity around a job is a dangerous place to be, for when or if the time comes that you are unemployed, you’ll feel lost.  This will affect your mindset, body language, and voice.  In transition, it’s understandable to struggle and have a difficult time owning your personal brand.  This is the time to look for the part of you that is happy, and highlight it so the perceived flaws are less noticeable.

You are not defined by your role.  Determine who you are outside of work so you are excited to learn who others are regardless of where they work.  The human relationship comes first.  You will have much more valuable conversations if you connect on a human level before talking business.

Creating a personal brand. Begin analyzing your personal brand by walking through the funnel process.  Journal answers to each question.

After you have drafted your personal brand funnel, ask personal family/friends and professional colleagues how they view you.  Let them know you trust their opinion and genuinely want to know how they perceive you.  Ask them for feedback in the areas of:

•    Leadership
•    Presence
•    Wardrobe / grooming
•    Speaking
•    Etiquette

While you await external feedback, ask yourself the same questions and jot them down for reference.  When feedback is received, compare your assessment with the external assessments.  Are they aligned or ajar?

Ask yourself: What areas can I improve upon?

Choose one area to focus on and create a 30-day new habit.  Examples include: Choosing a strategic standing position when in a networking environment; wearing a wardrobe icebreaker per outfit; increasing your tonality in speech.  Choose an accountability partner to increase your odds of success.

While you work on your new habit, observe those around you.  Whom do you remember?  What sticks out for you?  Whom would you compliment?  Who offends you?  If you can see it in others, you can see it in yourself and you can begin to take action on your own personal brand.  Be willing to “push” outside your comfort zone.

If you’d like to talk to me about this article, or consider a self-assessment, you may reach me at clareh@callosumcreative.com.