Why You Have To Say NO!

As a leader, you are confronted with all types of choices. Never a day goes by without you having to make a decision, or 10, on what you need to do or what choices the organization needs to make on a particular endeavor. One of the challenges that many leaders face is the challenge of saying "Yes" too much. And what happens is, when you say "Yes" to everything, then as you can imagine, you have this long list of things that now you are on the hook to complete. There's only so many hours in the day, and if you do not properly have boundaries in your work-life, you will stress out and then eventually burn out. That's not fun. You know my story. If not, listen to some earlier episodes. You will figure out who I am and what I'm all about. 

But suffice to say, burnout is not fun. It can cost you everything, and you don't want to do that. It's not good for you. It's not good for your family. It's not good for your employer. It's not good for anybody. So, what you want to do is you want to learn how to say "No," and you need to say "No" more often than not, because saying "No" will make the "Yeses" stronger.

Let me repeat that.

Saying "No" will make your "Yeses" stronger.

Because when you say "Yes" to something, you are committing yourself, your team, and the organization to complete what you just said "Yes" to. 

So, when other things come up, if they're not in complete alignment with the other things that you've said "Yes" to, then you should say "No" to them. Now, I'm not saying you're going to say "No" to them forever, I mean, "No, not at this time," or "It's not in our wheelhouse at this particular moment." Who knows? Depends on what's being presented. But at the end of the day, you want your "Yeses" to be strong, and you want to do those things really well because it will set you apart from other organizations in the work that you do. 

Follow me on Twitter @bfastleadership. Also, on Instagram @bfastleadership

And until next time, be well.

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.

One Year after 369 Days Book Release

 369 Days:  How To Survive A Year of Worst-Case Scenarios

369 Days:  How To Survive A Year of Worst-Case Scenarios

One year ago I became a published author. 369 Days, How to Survive a Year of Worst Case Scenarios, chronicles my year of loss. Back in 2009, I had a significant heart attack that should have killed me. I lost my job. Car was repossessed. Home was foreclosed, all in 369 days. Talk about a year of worst case scenarios. I wrote the book about it because I felt it was important for me to provide closure to myself on that year, and some change, as well as to give insight and hope to people who go through challenges in life. You can find the book at Amazon. Barnes and Noble also sells it. If you're in Canada, Indigo has it. But Amazon is probably the best place to find it, because you can get it in paperback, hardcover, or Kindle. And so I highly recommend it, and thank you in advance for purchasing the book. Feel free to comment about the book, what you liked about it in the comments. That helps me and other people that's considering buying the book find out about it. It makes a big difference. 

But I think the big takeaway for me after a year of being a published author is this. It's amazing what a book does to position yourself as a thought leader in a particular space. I am viewed as a thought leader in boundaries and burnout, based on what happened to me. I lived it. I know how people feel when they have high stress and burnout, because I experienced it, and now I don't, because I've designed a life where I don't have that. I've created boundaries in my life to prevent those things from happening. 

Now, at the time that I'm writing this post, I've had a pretty interesting week, that normally would have been an extremely high stress week. But because of the systems that I've designed, and how I deal with things, how I look at things, and how I look at life, it didn't impact me like it would have back in 2009 when I had all of those significant events. I can teach you how to do that too. If you're stressing out, if you're worried about burnout, if you're afraid of losing some things, reach out to me. I want to help you.

Go to breakfastleadership.com, and there's a message area down at the bottom of the front page that you can enter some information and we can schedule a time to chat. There's also a webinar on preventing burnout that's linked on the page, and at the end of this post. It's free, that you can watch and can help you with some things as well, and what I experienced, and how I've been able to change my life. Reboot, reinvent, however you want to describe it, but I've changed my life for the better. 

Quite frankly, and I know this shocks a lot of people when I say this, I am thankful for those 369 days, because it changed my life. It saved my life quite frankly. Because if I didn't make those changes, I can all but guarantee that I wouldn't be talking to you right now. I'd be gone. Quite frankly, I still have some significant work to do, and I want you to be around to help me do that work, as well. So, go to breakfastleadership.com. Fill out some information. I'd be more than happy to help you. 

Follow me on Twitter @bfastleadership. Also, on Instagram @bfastleadership

And until next time, be well.

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.

How Action Leads To Insight

 Source:  Photo by  Jakob Owens  on  Unsplash

Source:  Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

One of the things that makes me a strong boundaries and burnout coach is the fact that I have coaches. If you're using a coach, the first question you should ask them is who is coaching them. And if they don't have a coach, run. I'm serious. Everyone needs coaching. Coaches need coaches. They need guidance, and I'm no different than anybody else.

One of the coaches that I have, who's actually virtual through a leadership course that I've taken is Dr. John C. Maxwell. If you're in the leadership space, you know who he is. If you don't know who Dr. John C. Maxwell is, go to the bookstore, go into the leadership section, and you'll find a couple dozen books. Pick one, any one, doesn't matter. You'll realize what type of servant heart this individual has, as well as the leadership goal that he shares in a variety of different ways. 

On one of his recent coaching calls, he talked about action. And he talked about action leading to insight. It's not the other way around. Too often we're looking for insight before we take action on something. But action actually gives you the momentum to gain insight on the direction you need to go and whatever endeavor that you are taking on. So action is crucial. Being active and taking action on things will actually make things clearer for you and give you guidance and a roadmap to be able to do the things you need to do.

In these situations, it's not about luck, although there's a real estate investor named Glenn Estrabillo. And he had a comment on the definition of luck is labor under correct knowledge. Labor is action. So take action. You'll have the correct knowledge to do the right things the right way. And the impact that you will have for you and your organization will be beyond your wildest dreams. 

Follow me on Twitter @bfastleadership. Also, on Instagram @bfastleadership

And until next time, be well.

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.



Why Do Managers Fail In Their New Roles?

 Source:  Photo by  Abigail Keenan  on  Unsplash

Source:  Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Did you know that over half of new leaders fail within the first year of their new role? There's many reasons for this. One of them is, oftentimes organizations do not prepare the leader properly in order to take that role, and oftentimes, too, leaders bring baggage to their new role. They bring their successes, they bring their recipes on what worked before, and they try to apply the same systems to what the new environment is like.

Now, I'm not saying that this isn't a good idea, but I as saying that you need to take time to understand the new organization, because every organization is different. Yes, many similarities between different types of organizations. I've had experience in working at four different health clinics in my career, and each of them are different, even though the basis of each clinic was the same: see people, offer them help to get better. But how they go about it, the personalities, the dynamics of the leadership, of the team, and everything else completely varies.

And it can be in the same town, so it's a situation where you have to, as a leader, take opportunities to really listen and focus on what the organization is like, figure out what the mandate truly is, not the perceived mandate, but really what is the mandate of the organization, communicate with your supervisors frequently in a format that works for them and you, and then figure out what you want to do in order to design the organization the way that you think will be best for the organization now and in the future.

Easier said than done, but again, too often new leaders go in, and they say okay, this is the cookbook that I've used throughout my career, and I'm going to use it here. And unfortunately, the ingredients you have in this new role is completely different than what you've experienced in the past. So if you're a new leader, the one bit of advice that I do have for you is take time and really listen and understand what the culture is like in your organization. 

Figure out what type of culture you want to have. Lead by example. When you need to make changes, make those changes, but only after you understand what the ingredients are in your organization, and if those individuals, unfortunately, don't match up with the culture that you want to have, work with them to see if they can change. If they can't, then do what's best for the organization.

Follow me on Twitter @bfastleadership. Also, on Instagram @bfastleadership.  

Until next time, be well!

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.

Why Routines Work

 Source: Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Source: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I am a person of routine. My keys are always in the same spot as my wallet, as everything else that I have. My clothes are standardized, so I don't have to think about what kind of shirt or undergarments I'm going to wear, because they're all the same. Is that "boring"? Sure. You know what? For me, consistency plays a huge key in allowing me to think about the things that I truly should be thinking about, and not thinking about, "Okay, what shirt should I wear today? What socks go with this tie?" 

If you're consistent in your wardrobe, you save hours of your life every year, because you're not trying on something going, "It doesn't look right today, or doesn't feel right today," and all of that. Get clothes that fit. If you've got clothes in your closet you're going to wear when you drop those 20 pounds, here's my recommendation: go donate them. It's not motivating you to lose the weight. I hate to be harsh, but it hasn't done it for me, so I donated those clothes, and now I'm on a path to losing weight. So, guess what? I'm going to have to go buy new clothes. Well, going to help the economy one way or another.

Routines are important for you because when you follow routines, and you do things, and you set yourself up for success, it's going to make life a lot easier. Here's another example, as silly as it is. I've got a water filtration thing in our fridge. We don't have filtered water. We don't have a water line going through it, but I have this huge pitcher of water that I purposefully make sure is full every night. So, first thing in the morning before I go to the gym, I will fill up my water bottle and I'll have cold water, filtered, to work out with. If I didn't fill that up, then in the morning I have to grab the pitcher, fill it up with water, it's not going to be cold. It's going to fill up in the pitcher, it won't be as good, but by me taking a minute or two the night before to set everything up for the next day, I start off each day without being in resistance to something.

You're going to have enough resistance in your life. As soon as you get to work, I guarantee you're going to find some resistance whether it's with a vendor, employees, management, the environment, traffic, air temperature. There's not office in the planet that is at the right temperature. It's either too hot or too cold. It doesn't matter who you are. So, you're going to be fighting all day with these little nuances. Why should you have a nuance of not having your water bottle ready, or your clothes picked out, or everything that you choose? Habits are hard to implement but as Eben Pagan says, "You have to install a habit." Just like you install an app onto your phone, you have to install a habit. You have to do things the right way in order for it to be successful. If you're going to say, "Alright, I'm going to exercise every day," unless you install mechanisms in your day to make that next to impossible to not do, then the chance of success is going to be minimal. 

You literally have to make sure that you install a habit into your life, and once you do, you're going to start seeing improvements in other facets of your life. I'm currently doing that right now, and at the time of this podcast, I'm on a different eating routine and I've lost almost seven pounds. Believe me, I notice it. Seven pounds isn't a lot for me, but I notice it. I notice how I feel, I notice my energy levels, I notice everything has tremendous chance, and I'm going to talk more about that down the road as I continue down that journey, because I think once I get to the destined weight that I'm going to get to, and I'm going to get to it because I've installed it as a habit, I will definitely share with you what I've done, how I've done it, who I've worked with, because it's something a few weeks in, I'm absolutely amazed at the results that it's creating so far, and how I feel, and it's amazing.

Here's something that also Eben likes to talk about a lot, and I want you to write this down, please. 

"Whatever you resist, persists." 

If you're resisting something about a change in your life, it will persist, so you need to stop resisting it. In other episodes I'd say whenever you face a challenge or you feel stressed in your life, feel it. Don't fight it, feel it.  Sammy Hagar has a song about that. Buy Sammy's stuff. I love the guy.

In order for you to break old habits and create new ones, you need to install a habit. Just like an app. You want to use it, you want this thing to work for you, you have to install it. Make it a part of your life.

If you need help with this, fill out the contact information at the bottom of the page at breakfastleadership.com and I can give you some tips and ideas on what you can do to help out on this, because I want you to be successful. We need you to be successful. Until next time, be well.

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.

The Personal Development App Speaking Tour

 September 20 & 21, 2018, Toronto

September 20 & 21, 2018, Toronto

On September 20th and 21st 2018, I'll be speaking in Toronto as part of the Personal Development App Tour. This is a tour that's going across the United States and Canada with thought leaders talking about a variety of subjects. I'm guessing we can probably guess someone will be talking about boundaries and burnout because I'm the boundaries and burnout guy. So I'm not going to be talking about crochet or any other subject, but if it comes up I'll give it my best. I won't be very good at it, but I'll give it a shot. There's an app that you can get on the App Store, it's called The Personal Development App. 

On this, there are several thought leaders across the world that talk about a variety of different subjects. It's a great way to connect with thought leaders in a variety of personal development areas that will really make a positive impact on you. This is a free app, so you can go to www.ThePDA.info and that will take you to the page, and hopefully if you're in Toronto or other parts of the city, or the world, you can come and see. 

Of course, my speech will be hosted live on the app as well when it's completed, but I highly encourage you to download the app because again, it's free and there's some incredible resources on there, and they're adding additional resources every week. They're going to really help you develop the life that you want to develop, and develop the life that you deserve. So until next time, be well. 

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.



Podcasts and the New Media Summit

 Source:  Photo by  Jonathan Velasquez  on  Unsplash

Source:  Photo by Jonathan Velasquez on Unsplash

I’m a big fan of the Podcast platform.  My podcast can be found on BreakfastLeadership.com, and on ITunes, and Google Play

I'm a big fan of the platform in case you haven't figured that out by now. And I have to thank the New Media Summit for that. I first attended that conference in the fall of 2017 and I will tell you it's made a dramatic impact on my life. Not just in getting off my butt and recording podcast episodes, but in other aspects. 

The connections that I've made from that conference, the personal connections, people I've met, all have been AWESOME!  I'm coauthoring a book with a fellow Icon. I have a physiotherapist that I met that is actually in Toronto. There's friends that I've met that are local and all over the globe. 

And it's a wonderful medium. And the people that are in this space are absolutely incredible. The New Media Summit, the next one, is actually coming up in September. And it's going to be in Austin, Texas. Hurry up and register today by clicking the link, because tickets are almost gone.

I highly recommend you do that if you're interested in learning about New Media, and you want to get your platform out there. 

This podcast is definitely one way to do it. But it's not just about that. They teach you a lot of things at this conference. They tend to dance. They tend to have a lot of partying. It's an entertaining event and it's a few days of your life that you will regret not going if you don't register. 

Register here

Follow me on Twitter @bfastleadership. Also, on Instagram @bfastleadership

And until next time, be well.

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.

Deep Renewal For Deep Energy

 Source:  Photo by  Holly Stratton  on  Unsplash

Source:  Photo by Holly Stratton on Unsplash

Today, I want to talk to you about high energy and the way to have it. I'm not talking about Red Bull or X-Hour Energy or 18,000 cups of coffee, but if that's your thing, go for it. I'm not here to judge. 

The key to high energy, and Eben Pagan talks about this, is deep renewal. That's an exercise where you deeply renew who you are and what you do. Some of the things that he talks about is a deep renewal from a physical level: exercise, taking care of yourself, eating really well, finding out the foods that treat you well and eliminate the foods that don't. Yes, I know that your favorite food probably tastes really, really good, but for many of us, the aftermath of it is not really, really good. It's called extra weight and that's not good for you or anybody involved.

Being emotional on some things and really keeping in tune with how you handle your emotions, is good. One of the things that Eben talks about is many of us are trying to move against the grain of our emotions. If something happens to us and it creates an emotion with it, we need to ride the wave, really just go with it, feel it. Often times stress and burn out happens because we resist what's happening to us instead of feeling it and allowing it to go within ourselves. Feel it, name it, and then move on from it. It makes a big difference. 

The third thing that Eben mentions is rest. I'm a huge fan of rest. Huge. I aim to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. No, I am not a baby. I'm actually like one, perpetually 12, but I find it really crucial for me to get a proper amount of sleep. I go to bed early. I go to bed a lot early than many people. I'm usually in bed between eight and nine and out by 9:30.


 Ernie Harwell Statue at Comerica Park, in Detroit

Ernie Harwell Statue at Comerica Park, in Detroit

I'll have the baseball game on playing in the background. I'll fall asleep. I've been doing that since I was a kid. I used to listen to Ernie Harwell call Detroit Tigers games.  I loved Ernie talk about baseball. Then, I'd wake up in the morning to J.P. McCarthy on WJR. So, I'm used to doing that and it helps me sleep.

But, sleep and rest is crucial. If you can build in naps in your day, by all means, do it and hopefully your employer allows that or even if you can take a little nap in your car or somewhere to rejuvenate. It doesn't mean a two-hour nap, 20 minutes can make a big difference in your life. 

The last thing is breathing. It's amazing how often many of us do not breathe properly. I met somebody that teaches breathing in St. Louis not too long ago. I hope to have her on my show. I need to reach out to her because there's some incredible lessons learned from breathing the right way. 

I'm asthmatic so breathing for me is a little bit more challenging than it is for many of you. Every breath that I take ... try to get the Police song your of your head, but every breath I take is crucial. It's crucial for you too, of course. For me, it's a little bit more difficult some days. So, I have to keep tabs on that and breathing properly helps me do that.

Hopefully, that list will help you resonate on how to really figure out how to get high energy and natural energy without all the additives and other things that you may be doing to operate. When you do those things, believe me, it will make a big impact in your life. Until next time, be well. 

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.

How Boundaries Block Burnout: By John R. Nocero and Molly Downhour

Today’s guest article features two thought leaders in the Boundaries and Burnout Space, Molly Downhour and John R. Nocero.  Their respective bios are at the end of this article, and I highly recommend you review their bios, and reach out to them on LinkedIn.  Their respective passions and experiences around burnout and the need for boundaries will help you navigate through your own challenges.


 John R. Nocero

John R. Nocero


According to Alec Steele, the cost of burnout is higher than the loss of taking a weekend off. It’s the weekend, I’ve worked out and am waiting for the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight on FOX. With the exception of a couple LinkedIn requests (and posts; okay more than a couple posts), It’s perfect. I have started to prioritize my recovery, maybe differently than you do. I love what I do and I could not imagine doing anything else. I have worked with the absolute best professional partner of my life while managing a clinical research unit and am now transitioning into building a clinical quality management program. Twelve-hour days are the norm; but my diet and exercise routine are on point, I’m focused and thinking clearly. I am connected to my mission, vision and purpose in life - being a research administrator within the Duke healthcare system or a similar healthcare system here in North Carolina by 2019.

It was not always this way. About four years ago, I took a job in Erie, Pa as the Chief Compliance Officer and Administrator of Governance, Risk Management and compliance for the national institute of autism. Did I want to take that job? Honestly, hell no. I did it because my administrator was leaving and I didn’t want to be without her. The money was nice, my bank account was solid, the travel sucked, I commuted between Cleveland and Erie weekly on treacherous Interstate 90 in the snow; I thought it was what my career was supposed to be. It was an awful fit – I disliked the business, especially my immediate boss, but I did make a great connection who turned out to be my successor. I woke up one day and just quit – I hated it- and went back to Cleveland. 

Looking back, it was the best move I made. Now, I am calm and resilient, I listen to me and what I want, and continue to learn and grow in the role that I want. I make sound decisions, have good habits and do nothing self-destructive. I’m a producer, not a consumer. Most importantly, I love those who love me, professionally and personally, like they are free, and don’t chase those who don’t. It is my truest version of masculine energy - about purpose, drive, mission, succeeding, accomplishing, breaking through barriers and overcoming obstaclesI know that my real goal in life is happiness, and I will always have the right tools available to me to maximize my happiness. They’re everywhere, and they are free.

I’m still a work in progress – I’m speaking to you, Kraft Mac & Cheese (Michael note: referred as “KD” in Canada 🇨🇦) , you golden delicious emotional savior.  My goal, each and every day, is to try and get a little better today than yesterday. Take care of your body and eat a little healthier this week than I did last week. Focus on my career; and getting up and doing things that make you happy and make you smile, because when you’re happy and you love life, you’re going to smile more, feel better, feel more proud of yourself, naturally stand taller and you’ll be in a peaceful and relaxed state. When you focus on taking care of you, everything else will fall into place.


 Molly Downhour

Molly Downhour


I was at a Womens’ Empowerment conference with a colleague.  The first speaker talked about being on top of her game professionally with salary and title, but she didn’t feel fulfilled. She quit her job and pursued her passion.  After she quit her job, she noticed her chronic headaches and intermittent cough had resolved.  She literally felt better and she found her passion and purpose.  I thought to myself, I have chronic headaches and always on Mondays.  

The next speaker spoke about personal brand.  I have heard before that you are your own brand and always keep that in mind.  But her next statement was the life changer for me.  She said, “Your personal brand also gives permission to your children to also have that brand.”  Oh snap. My personal brand was telling my children that my job was more important than them, my husband, and my health.  I decided to quit my job that day and sure enough, my chronic headaches went away.

In retrospect, there were many other signs of burnout that in hindsight were obvious.  I am a feisty person, but at the time I accepted defeat easily from typical external requests being denied.  I was fatigued, slept poorly often with work related dreams, had decreased patience with my young children, and had less interest in the things I usually enjoy.  However, these symptoms were justified in my head because I loved my colleagues and patients, our purpose in early phase clinical trials, and I understood the investment the organization made in my career. I also felt I backed myself in a corner with such a niche career.  Who else would want me?

I was fortunate that I was able to find a job quickly after I quit my old one.  Was it my ability to see opportunities clearly or the release of negative energy that had opportunities knocking my door down?  It doesn’t really matter.  I know I was fortunate to be able to take the risk of quitting one job before securing another.  With this privilege, I made a commitment to myself and my family to create healthy boundaries with my career.  My brand now gives my children permission to work hard, take care of yourself, and be an engaged part of the family.

Michael:  I trust you enjoyed Molly and John’s stories as much as I have.  If you’re struggling with burnout or boundaries issues, reach out to one of us via LinkedIn, or visit BreakfastLeadership.com and we will happily respond to your inquiries.

Be well!


About the Authors

Clinical Research Strategy Executive, Medix™

Molly has over 20 years of healthcare experience with specialization in oncology, research, and health care administration.  Molly earned her bachelors of nursing and master of health administration as well as her nurse executive advanced, oncology nurse, and clinical research coordination certifications.  As a former director of a leading phase I clinical trial site, she has proven ability to streamline processes resulting in improved clinical operational efficiencies, financial gain, and employee and patient satisfaction. Now Molly shares her passion, and expertise with sites as the strategy executive for Medix Clinical Research.  

John R. Nocero, PhD, MBA, CCRP, GCP, CC, ACB, IPPCR

Research Program Leader, Duke Office of Clinical Research


John is a Research Practice Leader in the Duke Office of Clinical Research. He is a best-in-class research programs expert, driving process & quality through data and outcomes and is a recognized leader in clinical research compliance, risk management, auditing & monitoring. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio, a master’s degree from American Intercontinental University and doctoral degree in public service leadership from Capella University. He is a certified clinical research professional and has worked in various conduct and administrative roles in clinical research since 2003. 


How Burnout Impacts Your Goals

This article was originally published on Medium.com

One element of burnout that I haven’t touched on on my previous articles  as much as I should is the concept of unmet expectations.

When you are in a burned out state, your body is fighting within itself just to keep all of your internal systems flowing.  You’re tired, agitated, aching, stomach issues, headaches, stressed, lost.

Confusion is often in the mix as well, as your mind expected things to be different.  Whether it’s how you thought your day was going to pan out, or how you thought your role with your current company would be like.  


 Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Our brains like to classify things we see.  Blame the visual cortex.  We often predetermine what we either want, or expect a situation or outcome to be.  We also assign emotions to those wants or desired outcomes, and when they don’t happen that way, those perceived setbacks or losses will add up, and eventually create the opportunity for burnout.

"Everything you have experienced in your life has molded and shaped your brain to favor certain behaviors and habits.”  Dr. Tara Swart, Neuroscientist

You planned on working on that quarterly report, but key people called in sick, so you’re scrambling to make sure there’s proper coverage.  Your goal for your day takes a setback. 

You were excited for that key meeting with the big client, only to find out that they have tabled that project until the fall.  Plans of summer work down the drain.

You spend a ton of time on that new product or service, and do all the online marketing thingys (webinars, lead magnets, etc.) and NO ONE clicks on it.  Definitely can be demoralizing, of you’re not in the right mindset.

The previous examples are not life threatening issues.  They’re all minor setbacks, but when you start compiling the setbacks without proper perspective or positive growth going forward, your mind can (and will) start thinking of worst-case scenarios.  

I help people recover from or prevent burnout in their lives.  Register here for my next webinar on going from burnout to your ideal life.

How to overcome these setbacks


 Photo by  Anika Huizinga  on  Unsplash
  • Routines to take better care of your self.  I have a free checklist on successful mornings, that help guide you to have your best days, every day.  Click here for that resource.
  • Go for a walk.  Barbara Corcoran (Shark Tank, and AWESOME person) tweeted that no good ideas have ever come from her desk.  Take a 15-30 min walk during your break to clear your head.
  • Finish an easy to-do list item.  Momentum is real, and getting something off your to-do list shows you and your brain that you are worthy and able to accomplish great things.

Be well!

If you're struggling with this as an organization or maybe you need to talk to somebody about the boundaries challenges that you're facing at work, reach out to me. Schedule a call with me by clicking this link, or the Book A Call link below.


Guest Post: Raj Jana from JavaPresse - Preserving a Positive Culture as You Scale

 Raj Jana - CEO & Founder JavaPresse

Raj Jana - CEO & Founder JavaPresse

Today's guest post is from Raj Jana, the founder of JavaPresse, a socially conscious coffee subscription service. He started the company hoping to use it as an engine for spreading gratitude and positivity, and he knew from the beginning it would be important to build a strong company culture. After several years of growth, he’s proud to say things have turned out somewhat how he expected. But this journey was not without its twists and turns and hard-learned lessons. He likes to write about his experience to help like-minded entrepreneurs have success.

Preserving a Positive Culture as You Scale

Business leaders across all different industries are concerned with building the “right” company culture, largely because they recognize its potential as a competitive advantage.

But what exactly is the “right” company culture? In truth, there is no one answer. But it’s best to think about the “right” culture as a set of norms and practices used to coordinate how you do things (culture) that’s appropriate both for you as a company and also for your market (right culture). If you can strike this balance, then your culture can give your company a real boost. 

So, then, how exactly do you build this culture? Again, there’s no one answer. And a big reason for this is that culture, to a certain extent, develops on its own. There’s only so much you can do as a leader to steer it. Yet that doesn’t mean you can do nothing.

One of the best ways to build a positive culture is to start from the beginning. Many new companies have good culture. As small operations with a limited number of people, these groups tend to develop a culture uniquely tuned to the personalities of the group and the expectations of the market. The challenge, however, is in preserving this as you grow. 

In general, growth is good for your business. But the injection of people that comes with it can throw off your cultural plans, unless you’re ready for it. Here are some ways to preserve your positive culture as you scale.

Have a plan

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Visualization needs to be the first step in any process of transformation. By first imagining where you want to go, it’s a lot easier to get there. Your path will be clearer, and it’ll be easier to identify when you’re veering off course.

As a result, the first step in trying to preserve your company culture when scaling is to plan out where you want to go. Imagine your company after it’s gone through its growth spurt. What do you want it to look like? How do you want it to run? What kind of people do you want working for it? 

If you can answer these questions in the beginning, and if you can have a plan as to how you’ll get to this desired state, then it’ll be a lot easier to manage change and expand in a way that reflects the type of company you want to be.

Emphasize balance

For your cultural plans to go the way you want them to, it’s important to have buy-in from your employees. And for this to happen, your employees need to feel like their work is more than just a job. They need to feel as though they are actively building something they are going to be proud to call their place of work.

One way to do this is to emphasize balance, especially as you grow. During periods of expansion, people’s workloads become heavier as they wait for new team members to be recruited, hired and onboarded. 

To ensure cultural change goes the way you want it to, you must work to help your employees stave off burnout. If they begin to feel stressed and overworked, then they’re going to tune out from work, reducing the investment you get from them, which will stop cultural growth in its tracks, or worse, send it in a direction you don’t want to go. 

Start by talking to your employees. Explain to them what is going to happen as you grow and ask them what their concerns are. Come up with some ways to help relieve the stress so that people stay happy, engaged and focused on positive cultural growth. Things like parties, offsite excursions or summer schedules are great ways to let your employees know you care about their work-life balance and want it to be a part of company culture moving forward.

Keep up with perks

 Photo by  Laureen Missaire  on  Unsplash

The workplace environment you create has a huge impact on culture. If people feel comfortable and in a positive place, then they are going to open up more, allowing you to take full advantage of their skills and talents. And they’re far more likely to work at preserving positive culture when they feel as though you, the employer, care about them.

There are a variety of different ways to demonstrate this to your employees. Your presence is a big one. By working to build a relationship with your employees, you can get a better handle on how culture is developing, making it easier for you to steer things in the right direction when they get off track.

Another simple way to keep up positivity in the workplace is to offer some office perks. Little things, such as free, healthy snacks, a premium coffee subscription, office fitness equipment, game rooms, etc. seem like tiny gestures, but these are the things people often grow to love about their workplace. An office is an office, so if you can make it feel special, then employees are going to reward you with hard work and a positive influence on overall culture.

Hire right

An inevitable part of growth is the expansion of your team. If you have a hope of keeping people on as the workload expands, then you need to bring in some help. However, one folly many young companies make is hiring strictly on experience and qualifications. While these are certainly important, they’re not everything, especially if your worried about the way your company culture might change.

Instead, you need to consider how your new hires are going mesh with and influence your current culture. You want people to be a fit, but you also want them to be different enough so that they’ll push you forward. 

One of the best things you can do for this is to broadcast your employer brand—the image and perception people have of you as an employer. You need to not only define this according to the culture you want to build, but then you need to make sure this image comes through on all communications you have with potential employees, from social media posts to job postings and your website. 

By doing this, you’ll make it easier to attract people that will be a good fit, and you’ll also be able to repel those who will not. A great example of this is the Netflix Culture Deck, which was released shortly after the company launched to try and shape the way culture developed at the growing company.

Another thing is to restructure your interviews to try and learn more about cultural fit. While you can’t flat out ask someone what their beliefs and values are, you can certainly ask them questions that reveal these characteristics.

Asking them to describe their ideal company, or how they would run things if they were CEO, are great questions for this. You can also posit hypothetical situations and ask them how they would respond. Their response should give you some insight into how well that person would fit with your culture. 

Be patient

Just remember, it’s a lot harder to change culture once it’s already embedded. It’s tempting to bring in new people as fast as you can. But if these people bring your culture in an unwanted direction, then this move may hurt you more than it helps you in the end. It’s better to wait for the right fit than to rush things and have to correct them later. And if you do a good job at helping your current employees manage the increased workload and maintain a good work-life balance, then a positive company culture is within your reach no matter how much you grow.


Guest Post: John Nocero. Research Program Leader | Duke Office of Clinical Research at Duke University School of Medicine

 John Nocero

John Nocero

Today’s guest blog post is from John Nocero, PhD, and the research program leader of Duke Office of Clinical Research, at the Duke University School of Medicine. 

I connected to John via LinkedIn a while ago, and when we connected via Old School technologycalled a telephone call, we discovered our different paths had many similarities.  We also both noticed that men have a difficult time discussing publicly their struggles with burnout and other challenges they face. 

John talks about taking care of yourself, and the power of being vulnerable.  You can connect with John at his LinkedIn page.

I have written about my personal triumphs overcoming my demons before, both in my marriage and how I developed my extreme ability to hyperfocus. What I’ve realized is that life is a journey and I am not broken. It is developing the great relationship with yourself that most influences your happiness. 

This can come in several forms, such as detachment, where you let go of outcomes and focus on process; self-love, where you prioritize self-care either through exercise, meditation, relaxation and spending time with loved ones, and work-life balance. 

Now, I am not the right one to talk about work-life balance. I feel like we are always skewed in one direction or the other, and the majority of the time, mine skews toward work. I don’t feel it is a bad thing, as my work is tied to my mission, vision and purpose in life. My wife shares a similar philosophy. For our 12thanniversary last month, we were driving to the beach to spend the weekend, and we took turns driving so we could each do work on our laptops. 

But as I am getting older (43 next month baby), I do realize that I am not as young as springtime any more, and I do need to prioritize recovery. I am changing my mindset to understand that recovery is productivity. I had a great talk with Michael about this a couple months back.  He is a subject matter expert in burnout and recovery. As we spoke, it was invigorating to learn that we had similar paths. I don’t know if it is a man thing about not being open to talk about being tired, or needing to take a break, but I do know it is not weakness if you do. 

A valued professional colleague taught me the CS Lewis quote, that love is being able to show vulnerability. But showing vulnerability is not only for the close females in your life. It is for everyone. If people don’t want to like you for you, that’s their problem. You need to be open and honest, and ask for help if you need it – sometimes that help shows up in a personal conversation, sharing stories over a professional networking session, or a smile from a stranger that lets you know they understand. 

Whatever this collaboration brings, I’m open to it and we look forward to sharing. 

Boundaries at work

 Photo by  Bethany Legg  on  Unsplash

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

Most of my blog posts, tweets and podcasts you hear me talk and write about is personal boundaries. Something that happens in your life, what you're doing, the things that are impacting your life. But for many of us, we spend the majority of our waking hours, consistently, at our workplace. Often times, there are boundaries issues that we encounter every day, at the place we call, "Work." 

Organizations are starting to recognize that they need to take a longer, harder look at the boundaries that are going on within their workplace or the lack thereof. We're starting to see more and more people burning out. Doesn't matter what career it is. I have a focus on healthcare but I also work in education and other areas and I'm seeing at across that receptor where people are burning out. There's many reasons why. As much as we would like to point the finger at one reason, as with everything, there's always more ingredients to that pie than just one. When you add additional ingredients into things, it can change the temperature of everything involved. 

With organizations, we have the problem of overloading our staff with things that they need to do. Communication is usually a big problem. There's a communication crisis in America. We're starting to see that with all of the, "Me too," movement, stuff, the stories that keep coming out about harassment, people leaving the professions that they work in because they burned out. There's a huge problem. We need to address that as a society and as organizational leaders. The best way to do that is to talk with your people, find out what causing them problems. Give them a safe space to be able to come to you and tell you what's going on. 

Then, you can address things. Because if you provide a work environment, where people enjoy their work, you will see the results of that in improved outcomes with whatever they happen to be working on, quality of their work will improve, absenteeism will drop, sick days will drop, all these things. I see that. I've seen that throughout my career. The people that are taken care of, that do really well, rarely take days off other than their vacation days and personal days and whatnot, but those that are struggling will burnout through their sick days at a very rapid pace and if you have a tracking system in your workplace to keep track of it, you should be alerted to it sooner than later. 

The key thing is to get ahead of that, to figure out what's going on, to make sure there isn't something that the work environment is creating the sick days from happening. It could be something that's in their personal life. We're not robots. Start treating people and your teams like human beings. Take care of them, find out their struggles, do everything you can as an organization to help them, and you will have a great employee. 

If you're struggling with this as an organization or maybe you need to talk to somebody about the boundaries challenges that you're facing at work, reach out to me. Schedule a call with me by clicking this link, or the Book A Call button below.

Until then, be well.