Last year I, for the first time in my professional career, experienced burnout.
Before, when someone told me they were feeling ‘burnt-out’, I couldn’t empathise with them. I thought to myself, ‘How can you be exhausted doing something you love?’ For me, real entrepreneurs had an unlimited supply of energy.
But, I found myself completely drained of energy and vitality. So, at the beginning of this year, I planned my holidays in advance. It was during one of these trips, to Bali, where something fascinating happened to me. I was with my wife, we had just rented a motorbike and she suggested we go for a ride.
“Okay,” I said. “Where are we going?”
“We’re just going for a ride,” she said.
This made my brain explode. Where are we going? What do you mean we’re just going for a ride? What the hell am I going to put in Google Maps?!
It took about five minutes of arguing before I realised how foolish I was being. I’m on holiday, and I’m worrying about an outcome of driving around a motorbike. I had been so used to grinding myself thin in my career that if something wasn’t going to give me a tangible result, then I wasn’t interested.
On the latest episode of Should I Start a Podcast, I had the opportunity to chat with Sally Foley-Lewis, a speaker, author and leadership expert. We talked about a lot of things — her entrepreneurial journey, how to make a podcast work, gender equity — but one thing that stuck with me was our talk about undergoing a journey rather than focusing on a destination.
Our job as leaders, Sally told me, is to show our team the outcome. What are they going to see at the end of the tunnel? But then, and this is where the important part is, we need to show them what a journey is like. If we show them how we will take on a project, then they are much more likely to participate, engage and buy in.
We’re all human. We make innumerable mistakes in our lifetime and go through some pretty uncomfortable emotions. That’s just something that’s part of life — no matter how much we try and nullify it.
The organisations that get through any sort of stress or problems are those that have good relationships with their staff, Sally says. Building trust with our companies, to the point that our colleagues feel comfortable enough to speak out about their issues, that’s the ultimate goal. And that only comes with taking things slow and owning up our mistakes.
That’s the beauty of everything in business. There is growth in the discomfort and adversity. It’s not just about getting to a made-up utopia of unlimited profit and growth; it’s about enjoying the journey along the way, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times.
Listen to my entire conversation with Sally Foley-Lewis here.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.