How To Have Boundaries In A Screen-Saturated World

Our eyes are glued to our screens, which is causing us to not see what's important

(Originally posted on Thrive Global)


In 2007, Steve Jobs gave us the iPhone.  Little did we know how impactful these little devices have changed our lives.  I use my smartphone for everything.  GPS, music, email, social media, health management, calendar scheduling, communications (yes, I use the phone icon), camera, alarm clock (I'm guessing Arianna wouldn't be pleased with this news!), MLB at Bat, etc.

I run my business from this device.  Without it, I would be lugging around a laptop (remember when laptops weighed over 10 lbs?  #Bulky).

A while back it became pretty clear that I use my phone a bit too much.  My brother referred to it as my "iBinky", aka pacifier.  #Ouch.

He's right.  I'm constantly being soothed by this awesome yet addictive device.  

So, I decided to establish boundaries around usage.  I speak on boundaries and burnout, based on my own burnout in 2009/10, where in 369 Days, I lost EVERYTHING.  Google it, it's a fun story ;)

Establishing boundaries around any habit is a challenge.  Eben Pagan puts it best (ironically) when he says you have to install a habit like you would an app on your phone.  

Apple's latest iOS release has a Time Limit feature, where you can set limits on what apps you can use on your phone.  This speaks volumes to what's going on with society and our own respective iBinkys and Androids.  (Note, I was an Android user and they have awesome phones!)

I'm using the Time Limit feature (Android has the feature as well, Google it!) and it's been interesting to say the least.  Some days it's important for me to access apps longer than the schedule I've set, so it's still a work in progress.

I do recommend that you use some sort of time management on your screen time, if anything to see how many hours you're logging on your phone each day.  You will be shocked. #6HoursOnInstagram?

I also invested in blue light glasses, as recommended by a good colleague of mine Bryan Falchuk.  Great guy, look him up #DoADay. Eye strain is bad, and we won't know the long-term effects for a few years, but I'm guessing it won't be pretty.

A tip I learned is to close your eyes every 30 minutes or so after you've had screen time.  Please don't do this while walking or driving, or in a meeting with your boss.  This will give your eyes a break, so that your eyes don't eventually break.

Similar to the 30 minute eye rest, get up out of your chair (if you're physically able, too many of us who write things like this forget that a considerable portion of our population are wheelchair bound, so on behalf of authors everywhere, I apologize.)  It's important to be physically active, and put away our iBinky from time to time.

A couple weeks ago, I went to dinner on Friday night, and purposely left my iBinky at home.  The horror!  Dinner?  In public? No phone?  Such a risk taker.  Two weeks later, the Earth is still spinning, life still exists.  The world did not end.  What did happen was uninterrupted conversations.  Imagine a world if we could do that?

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 We Hit The Reset Button?

Reset - Red Button

Do you have a reset button?  Where I'm going here is not along my typical "reboot your life", or change your life circumstances, but a button that makes you forget things, even though you shouldn't?

I'm writing this as Canada celebrates Thanksgiving. For my American brethren, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October. I've been in Canada for 14 years, and I'm still getting used to it, so I understand your confusion.

At a time of Thanksgiving, we should reflect on things that we are thankful for, but it seems people are on edge more than ever. We have access to so many things, but we're acting stressed out and many are burned out. Stress is the # 1 Google search for health tips.

People seem to be more worked up about the littlest of things.  I'm not belittling the challenges that people face.  I've had plenty in my life.  The key is to focus on the positives of things, or persevere through whatever you might be facing, and you'll come out ok.

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 America Has A Corporate Communication Crisis

America has a communication crisis. This is not a political blog so I'm not going to talk about politics, because that is, as we've seen divisive and this blog is not about dividing. This blog is about boundaries and living your best life and you can do that no matter what side of the political fence you live on, but what I'm talking about today in the communication crisis that America has is within our corporations and our organizations. 

Managers and employees aren't communicating together the right way, because there is stuff that both parties are bringing to the table that they're unaware of. Coming soon there's a book coming out that I am co authoring with someone very special to me and we're going to talk about this particular subject and how to address it, and how to fix it because quite frankly, people don't know that it exists and corporations are running the risk of a significant challenging even or an organization that could simply lose everything and we've seen the situation what happened with the Harvey Weinstein company. 

So stay tuned for more book announcements!

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 Your Energy Impacts Your Ability to Accomplish Your Goals

Photo by  Filip Mroz  on  Unsplash

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

How's your energy? How many cups of coffee have you had? Or tea? Or Red Bull? Or X-hour Energy? 

You're going to crash at some point and you know that. I know that. Happens every day for you. There's better ways to get energy and I'll talk about that at future episodes, especially on some things that I've changed in my life that has allowed me to have consistent high energy throughout the day and some incredible sleep-filled nights. So, stay tuned for that information and the guests that I'll interview that will talk more about it and the impact that it's made on my life.

But today I want to talk to you about more about matching your energy to the work that you do. Too often, we try to do tasks and things that are not in alignment with our energy levels. I'm a morning person, so I load up my mornings with tasks and things that I want to do for that day. Now, by load up, let me rephrase that. Because remember, I'm the boundaries and burnout guy, so the last thing I wanna do is overload my day. 'Cause guess what's that's going to happen? Or what it's going to cause? It's going to cause stress and burnout. 

Been there, done that. Got the two stents in my heart to prove it. But what I do is I pick two or three things that are important for me to accomplish for that day. And I focus on those two or three things only. Okay, yes, emergencies come up, things you've gotta deal with. Great. Deal with it, but then return back to these two or three things. You may not finish them today. I'm not saying you're going to have a thing that's only going to take an hour to finish. But if you do, get those off your to-do list, because guess what? Then it's done and over with. 

But what you need to do is pick two or three things that are important, those are going to help to move you and the organization that you work for or serve better. Do those. Get those done. Finish. If you need to, go buy Jon Acuff's book Finish. It's an amazing book and it's amazing how many people don't finish. But go do that.   I am not an affiliate of Jon's, but if Jon's reading this, you can make check payable to Michael Levitt. 

Anyhoo, it's important for you to match your tasks with your energy levels. So, as I said, I do tasks in the morning and in the afternoon I try to schedule, or schedule depending on what part of the planet you're from, any meetings, follow-ups, whatnot. Because I'm in a different physical and mental state in the afternoon and I can be more in-tuned with people because I know that the things that I wanted to get done that day, and move forward, I've done. So that way when I'm in the meetings, I'm more attentive and I can listen and provide true value to the people that I'm speaking with, whether it's in a meeting, phone call, coffee shop, you name it.

Find your energy levels, where they are throughout the day, and match them up with the work that you need to do. And once you've synergized those things, you're going to realize how much reduced your stress levels are because you're not going against the grain. I have worksheets that I can help you with them that. So if you're interested in those, just go to and down at the bottom there's a area where you can send in a question and just type in that you would like the info sheets on how to track your energy levels.

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 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, 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 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 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 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, 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 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.