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They're subtle. And the truth is we give in to these things more than we realize. If you take the time

#1 Unrealistic Expectations

These come from two sources. The first is from ourselves. When we start a new job or are really pushing ourselves to hit the next promotion, we tend to pile on way more than we can handle. This will work for a little while, but every car stops when the gas tank is empty. Often this shows up in saying, “Yes” to commitments before evaluating whether or not those obligations help us toward our goals.

Secondly, we can receive unrealistic expectations from others. Chaotic work environments tend to pile on the work on the shoulders of a few. And if you’re a high-achiever, you could be easy prey. If coworkers or employers have no problem filling your schedule without any consideration for PTO, consider this a red flag.

Suggested Response:

  • Block off time to list all the tasks, projects, and responsibilities you do. Compare these to the responsibilities your job actually required. From these, make a list of things that have to be done today in order to fulfill those requirements. Next time the boss asks for another task outside of these priorities, politely ask him or her to CHOOSE which was more important: their one task or your list of priorities.

  • Example:

    • Boss: “Would you mind going through these boxes of client financial docs, uploading the info, and storing them in the vault?”

    • Response: “Sure, I could do that. Here is a list of what I had planned for this week/day. Do you want me to postpone any of these to make time for this new project?”

#2 Lack of Fulfillment

“I thought this was my dream job, but after a few months it was far from it.” Comments like this come up frequently in career development. Fizzled passion arises from a conflict between where we are now and where we want to be. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but left unresolved it can poison your work energy.

Fulfilling careers are not always the most lucrative pursuits, though a lot of money can be made. Instead it’s being part of a team, company, or organization you believe in and want to succeed.

Suggested response:

  • Get concrete on knowing what fulfillment means to you. It isn’t a job, a place you live, or even a dollar amount you receive. It’s a set of values that define who you are and what makes life feel... well.. alive! If you’re unsure about what exactly those values are, then it will be very easy to feel burnt out. I walk clients through a super fun yet insightful exercise about discovering Life Purpose and exploring that purpose in our line of work.

#3 Priority Shifts

This goes hand-in-hand with fulfillment. Our values reveal how we feel fulfilled. Priorities are the commitments we make to bring our values into reality. One possible reason you’re feeling burnt out is because you have a commitment that’s not aligned with your priorities. This may not necessarily be the commitment’s fault, but because of a thought or belief that’s creating dissonance. Do you really know what you’re wanting out of your career? When did you last give significant time to refine or define what’s most important to you? Priorities change as life changes. Often we burnout because we’re spinning our wheels but aren’t really getting anywhere.

Suggested response:

  • Take inventory of all the hats you wear — in work and in life. If you’re clear on your values, you can use them as guides. Scan over your list to see what commitments are not resonating with your values. From there you can brainstorm a list of things to stop or start that will eliminate the dissonance. Choose 1-3 actions from your brainstormed list to try out over the next few weeks. Check in with yourself to see if something should be tweaked or changed altogether.

I sincerely hope these three suggestions can help you get out of the burnout. But this is by no means exhaustive. I would love to hear what you’ve discovered that can lead to burnout, as well as suggestions to escape it. Comment them below!

If you’re wanting to go deeper to discover the underlying beliefs that are keeping you in the burnout cycle, let's connect. Together we can create an Action Plan that can bring immediate relief and long-term fulfillment.

Updated: May 28, 2022

Awesome books, blogs, and videos have enhanced my public speaking. I rely on the ideas of others to crystalize my own ideas to others. But do you know what I find myself using most? It’s a 5-minute nugget from my middle school English class. Mrs. Burdick’s voice still shadows my notes as I write. I’m clueless as to how this stuck in my brain for so long. But I’m so glad it did!

Those three ingredients are, “Logos, ethos,” and “pathos.” Does this sound like Greek to you? That’s because it is! And here’s how it applies to public speaking:

Logical Flow - "Logos"

No one goes out of their way to sound confusing. We want everyone to “get it.” We crave the lightbulbs glistening over heads of listeners. Unfortunately I’ve had a couple speeches where my audience had blank expressions. They looked lost. In those moments I was reminded that what makes sense to me may not make sense to others.

Look at your notes and ask yourself...

  • How does my first point relate to my second point?

  • Does this next point belong in this section, or would it be better somewhere else?

  • Why can I be confident listeners will understand where I’m going?

  • How would this sound to someone else from a different perspective than my own?

Remember: every piece of information can be simplified. People are not impressed with how brilliant you are, but by how simple you can make ideas to others.

Factual Data - "Ethos"

This is where we get our word, “ethics.” Have you noticed political speakers of all stripes tend to use only facts that support their position? Rarely do you hear a congressman or journalist share both sides. What’s worse is facts that are exaggerated, misused, or just plain false to support our bias. That’s unethical. Convincing speakers are trustworthy speakers, and transparency is the best way to build rapport with listeners.

Do you have a presentation for your company about a new product, but you know that the finance team is coming prepared with stacks of papers saying, “We don’t have the money”? No problem. Their faces will be shocked if you said, “Now I need to be transparent with you. Here’s where the budget stands.” This may seem like threatening your own presentation, but it’s not. It’s winning over listeners who may not agree with you. You’ll never win everybody, but you can make people feel heard and understood.

Be ethical with your facts. Share the whole picture while sharing your belief in where we should go next.

Authentic Emotion - "Pathos"

Logical information with unadulterated facts are excellent bones of a great speech. But the blood, the tissue, the organs, and the essence of life itself comes from your passion. Would you pay money to show up at a conference where the main speaker is a lifeless computer? Neither will your audience. Books by greater speakers than I’ll ever be deal with passion: vocal variety, eye contact, appropriate gestures, illustrative stories, etc. Experiment with these in front of a mirror or practice in front of constructive friends to make these techniques authentic. The last thing we want to do is fake emotion. Anyone with half a brain can see this and it’s gross. But the hearts of our most outspoken enemies can be melted if we infuse our speech with real emotion.

Next Actions

To grow as a communicator, try one or more of these next actions:

  • Pick one of the three keys (Logos, ethos, or pathos)

  • Ask people for feedback. You don’t have to explain logos, ethos, or pathos to them. But ask them questions like, “Was there anything that didn’t make much sense to you? What would have made this clearer in your mind? Did you feel like you got the whole picture? What did you think about the facts I used? Was there something you thought of that might contradict my point? Did the speech make you feel inspired, happy, sad, contemplative, etc? What would have made the presentation more enjoyable to listen to?”

  • Listen to yourself. Don’t be too harsh because we’re our own worst critic. But pay attention to the emotion, to the information, and to the logical flow of your presentation. Where do you think you’re strongest in? What needs some attention?

Do you have any helpful speaking tips? Share them below for us all to learn together!

It was life-changing for me really. That day I confided with a mentor of mine how overwhelmed I was changed how I do productivity. There I was as a college sophomore with a double-major, a part-time job, a volunteer organizer for various projects, and in love. What do you get when you combine the absent-minded professor with a whirlpool of unfinished projects? A nightmare. I was living a nightmare.

My bed didn’t give me a shred of relief because I just couldn’t sleep. I’d toss and turn from the stress dreams. It seems silly, but one of the never-ending dreams was me working at Chick Fil-A. I couldn’t get the orders out fast enough, and the whole kitchen space began to flood with waffle fries and chicken sandwiches.

So I poured my heart to this man I respected so much. He said he had a book for me that was just what I needed and said to come back the next day. When I returned, I was holding a book that changed everything for me: Getting Things Done by David Allen. I had never read a book on productivity in my life, so I had no idea that this was considered the holy grail by task-managing experts.

The One-Stop Hub

I had lists everywhere: my phone, desk, computer desktop, notebooks, and backpacks. GTD taught me how to create a simple system for capturing all of “stuff” I need to get done and putting it in a single place. It even taught me how to process all the “stuff” in a manageable way. This kept me from getting overwhelmed because I didn’t see EVERYTHING I had to do, just the things I needed to do in the moment.

The Weekly Review

My stomach had so many pits because forgotten tasks would catch me by surprise. And my relationships were damaged because I forgot the commitments I was making. David Allen taught me how to pause once a week and process those pesky to-do’s that liked to hide. Suddenly I was no longer a firefighter extinguishing the flames of forgotten tasks. I was able to get a handle on my commitments and actually make progress!

The 3 D’s for Task Management

Getting Things Done is all about what you do with a task, and you have three options: do it, defer it, or delegate it. If it takes 2 minutes or less, you should just do it right away. But if there is someone else who could do the job, you should delegate it. If it doesn’t need to be done right away, then defer it for a later date.

There is a whole wealth of information I can’t cover here. If you’re new to productivity, I highly recommend the book. You can purchase it here off of Amazon. Even in the digital age, I re-read this book and find myself becoming more masterful in the art of task management.

What’s a resource that forever changed your productivity? Share it in the comments!

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