3 Things to Ask Yourself if You’re Feeling Burned Out – Transcript

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[Intro Music] This is Office Talk with Annette Stepanian.


Welcome back to another episode of Office Talk. Now, today I want to talk to you about three questions you need to ask yourself if you’re feeling burned out. So we are at the almost at the end of summer, which means we only have a handful of months left in this year. Which I always say this every month, the beginning of every month, I’m like, this is bananas, where did the month go? But I’m really feeling like, oh, my goodness, where did the year ago? I don’t know about you, but usually, in the fall, I kind of get this like renewed sense of energy. And I want to push through and accomplish a lot of the goals that I had set out for myself for earlier in the year. 

Now, maybe you’re feeling burned out. Or maybe this is not just for summertime, but you’re at a point in your business when you’re feeling burned out. And that’s kind of where I’ve been the last few months. If you know me on a personal level, you probably know that I love systems. I love getting organized. My home – everything is very organized. I love knowing that things are in their place. And I really don’t have a lot of stuff. I really try and keep things very minimal and very intentional. Because I don’t like getting kind of cluttered with my personal possessions. 

And I’ve kind of talked about this a little bit. If you go back to Episode 72. That was one of my favorite episodes. I talked about three ways to spring clean your business. I was going through spring cleaning at the time. And I thought about: “Wait, there’s this concept here, why can’t be spring cleaner business?” And this idea has really stuck with me over the last few months. And I thought about well in my personal life. I just love clearing things out. I love having things be very intentional, very purposeful. What if I took that same excitement and I’m literally getting goosebumps, because that’s how excited I get about it. What if I took that same type of philosophy, and again, applied it to my business? 

So you might have noticed that things have been a little bit quiet around my neck of the woods the last few weeks. And that’s been very intentional. What happened was in the last few years, my business has grown. When I first started out, and maybe you feel the same way. I felt like I was throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall I was trying a lot of different things and trying to see what worked, what didn’t work. At the same time, when I look back at a few years ago and when I look back at where we are today in terms of technology, in such a short amount of time, the landscape has completely changed. 

Remember Periscope? I remember when Periscope came out. And I was just like, “oh my goodness, I will never live stream. This is just too invasive.” It creeped me out. And now everybody I feel like is live streaming without a second thought, right? There is just a completely different tone to the way we are running our businesses. And a lot of that has been facilitated through technology. 

And so as my business has grown, as I’ve kind of like, I feel like I’ve layered on different things, I kind of felt a little not too much burnt out, but just like kind of spread too thin. Both in terms of myself, but I think also from the customer’s perspective. And so just this love of simplicity, I started thinking, you know, I need to take some time off and just go back. Back to the drawing board and redesign everything informed by a lot of what I’ve learned over the last few years for sure. But let’s be more intentional about it. 

And a lot of this thinking has been inspired by one of my favorite books. You’ve probably heard me talk about it before. And if you haven’t, I would encourage you to check it out. And this is the Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. I don’t know if I can pronounce his name, right. But it’s a really kind of cheeky book. And I would encourage you to check it out. I listen to it on audio. The premise of the book is that growing a profitable and sustainable business is a lot like growing a giant pumpkin. So the author goes about and says about how I guess once he was reading the newspaper or something and he came across an article about how this guy in this town won some competition for growing the largest pumpkin in the state. And he kind of took a look at the article which broke down the whole pumpkin growing process. And he started to liken like: “okay, this looks a lot like the secrets to entrepreneurial success.” 

And those steps. We’re going to read it from the book. Step one – you got to plant some promising seeds. Step two – you’ve got to water, water, water. Step three – as the pumpkins grow, you got to routinely remove all of the diseased or damaged pumpkins. Step four-  you got to weed like a mad dog. Not a single green leaf or root permitted if it isn’t a pumpkin plant. Step five – when they grow larger, identify the stronger, faster growing pumpkins. And then you remove all of the less promising pumpkins. And then you keep repeating this until you have one pumpkin on each vine. Then you focus all of your attention on the big pumpkin, you nurture it. And then you finally the last step is that you watch it grow. 

And I could not agree more, I love this philosophy in so many areas of our lives. About how you can take out basically the clutter. Take out those diseased vines, or your damaged pumpkins, and leave room for that pumpkin, or those ideas that are promising to grow even stronger. 

So with this philosophy, in the back of my mind, I intentionally again took some time off, and I came up with three things you need to be thinking about, if you’re, if any of this resonates with you. If you’re feeling burnt out, or you feel like your pumpkins aren’t growing as strong as you want them to be. 

So the first one is, I want you to remind yourself, why you’re doing what you’re doing. What is the purpose behind all of this? Now, if you know any bit of my story, you know that a few years ago, I left my law firm job, to pursue a life and to pursue a lifestyle that I felt like better aligned with what I pictured for myself. Now, my job, I always say they were always so great to me. And it was nothing about the job itself. It just felt like I didn’t have a lot of balance in my life. But in terms of my personal life, and my professional life. And so I started a business because I wanted to design my life in a way that worked for me. And it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized, I hadn’t learned my lesson. I was still in that same trap. I was still completely defined by my business, and how anything in my business went, versus defining who I was as a person first. And then the business being an extension of myself. 

And what worked really well for me was really to put myself first and start taking care of myself. I wish I could tell you there was a magic pill, but a lot of it has been honestly, eating better, working out, taking care of myself, in terms of like little things like getting my nails done. And I’m not talking about I mean, I literally do my own nails. But like taking the time to do that for myself. It has kind of flipped everything on its head. And that saying that like when you’re on an airplane that you need to put your oxygen mask on first, right? Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. And it’s a practice. It doesn’t come easily, it’s very easy to say I’m going to skip out on a workout. So I went off on a little tangent there. But my first thing is remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

The next tip is to know what result you’re after. Okay. And I, I picked these words very intentionally, I’m saying the word result. I want you to think about where is that destination that you’re heading to a result is very different than a to-do. The result is for example, I want to lose 10 pounds, right? And the to-do is what you do to get to that result, which is the workout. I think what ends up happening sometimes is we get so caught up in the to dues, right? We create all these lists of all these projects and all these things we want to accomplish, that we lose sight of the result that we’re after. 

And it creates a false sense of accomplishment because you’re like, well, I’m so busy. Like I have all these to dues. I’m working all the time. Or I’ve done all these projects. But you at the end of that time you realize, well, but did I accomplish anything? Did I move the needle forward in any way that I feel good about? So I would say figure out your desired results, then focus on the steps that get you to your specific results. 

I literally have this on a post it note on my computer screen. And I asked myself are the actions that I am thinking about taking are they getting closer to my result that I’m after? And it’s again it’s it’s not something that comes naturally I really have to be intentional about it. So that this way I don’t lose sight of that destination and that end goal that I’m after. 

The third thing I want you to think about is instead of adding to your life and adding to your business, think about what you can take away. What can you edit down? Now, this has been inspired by one of my favorite chapters in Tim Ferriss’ book The tools of Titans. And if you haven’t checked it out, check out the book. But he also has a podcast episode that where he reads this chapter, and it’s called the 17 Questions That Changed My LLife. And I’ve talked about this before. And this chapter is one that I revisit on a regular basis, because I think some of these questions are very thought-provoking. And so in particular, one of the questions is: what if I could only subtract in order to solve a problem? Ooh, it’s good, right? It’s such an interesting concept, because we often think about, what can I do more? What else can I add? What else can I do? What else can I you know, who else can I bring on to help me right? 

You know, we always think about consumption in our society I feel like. And I want you to think: Well,what about deleting? What about editing? What about taking away. It kind of reminds me of that, quote, maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s from Michael Angelo, about when he was creating the statue of David. And it was, he says something to the effect of- “I saw the angel in that marble, and I carved it until I set him free.” The idea that everything is there, but we just need to edit out and let what is really the essence and beauty of what we do to let that shine. 

So going back to this question of what could I only subtract in order to solve a problem? Another way of thinking about it is what should I simplify? What can I add to my non-to-do list? These are questions that Tim talks about in his book. And he gives this really interesting story about how, when he was advising one of his startup companies that he had invested in, they didn’t have a lot of funding to redo the website, but they wanted to increase conversions. And before they started driving a lot more traffic to the website. So they thought, “Well, what can we remove from the website, so that we can focus on the most valuable click to help drive conversions?” Which actually goes back to one of the other tips, which is, know what result you’re after? Okay, when you know what you’re after, removing the stuff is so much easier, it’s so easy to edit it down.

So what I did in my business, I just stopped doing things for the sake of doing things. I took a break from the podcast, as you may have noticed, just for a few weeks. I closed down my facebook group. I took away trainings on my website, and I’m gonna be honest, I was kind of scared to do that all of this stuff. I thought, you know, what, if I lose people along this journey? What if people stop following me? What if they stop, you know, they unsubscribe? What if sales slowed down? What if nobody cares? What  if nobody misses me? 

And you know, even despite these worries, I knew it was time to make a shift. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m in this for the long haul.  I want to really build a long term sustainable business. And I knew that I needed to take that step back. So I could see the forest from the trees. And I needed to recharge, so I could better serve my customer, my clients, my listeners, and also just to build a business that is better aligned with who I am as a person and my values and my philosophies. 

So what happened after kind of going through the last few weeks? Well, I personally on a personal level, feel amazing. I have a lot of energy, my spirit, and my just my general outlook is, I don’t know, I just have a happier disposition. I’ve kind of feel like my old self again. So I don’t know what it is, I don’t know if it’s the food I’m eating. It’s, you know, the yoga I’m doing or what. But I on a personal level, just generally feel happier and more at ease. 

In terms of my business, things slow down a little bit. I’m not gonna lie. Things weren’t super crazy. I mean, I was working behind the scenes, I had client projects and things of that nature going on. Things were a little slow. And I was okay with that. I just trusted that this was just a season and a moment that I needed to hit pause so that I could ramp up to that next level for myself. 

I also had renewed clarity. I felt like I could make decisions and I have made decisions about where I want things to go. And it just instead of like kind of pondering on them forever and ever and ever, which I tend to do because I am Libra and we tend to be a little indecisive. I feel like I’m a lot more decisive about things, because I have a clear vision and a simplified vision of what my giant pumpkin is. 

I am revamping this podcast. I’m so excited about the content that is coming your way. And yeah, we’re gonna still be talking about the law. But we’re gonna be talking about other things that I think are important and essential as we kind of go through this journey together. 

I’m also revamping some of my products, which this is by far one of the things I’m the most excited about. Because I’m again, taking what I had, making it better and I know it’s going to serve my customers and other folks in a different level than it has before. 

So to take one of my childhood, like idols, Paula Abdul, if you know her, I don’t know if I might be dating myself here. Take one of her my favorite songs, opposites attract, and we flip it around. I want to let you know that sometimes you’ve got to take two steps back in order to take two steps forward. Or put another way, sometimes you’ve got to slow down in order to speed up. 

So I’d love to know what is one thing that you can edit down in your life and in your business. What is something that just feels like that kind of metaphorical clutter that is filling your pantries of your life and in your business that you want to clear away? Make sure to head on over to my Facebook page facebook.com/annettestepanianesq we’ll make sure to link that in the show notes as well as all the other references to the resources I talked about. I would love to hear from you over on Facebook. Okay, with that said I’m going to wrap up this episode, and I’ll be back next week with a brand-spanking new episode. I’ll talk to you soon.

[Outro Music]