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Featured Wellbeing

Does burnout only happen when we are nice?

Google ‘burnout’ and you get a raft of symptoms or remedies. Once you have acknowledged the symptoms of burnout, the suggested remedy is to remove the stressor.

People chug on through the day. They read that they are to remove the stressor. But removing themselves is not the most effective solution either.  What if your job or family are the stressors? How do you remove that? Wouldn’t the removal of these stressors cause you more stress?  Instead, face the stressor and find another way to deal with the stress. Avoiding or removing is not problem solving.

I come across many people experiencing burn out symptoms. From health professionals, teachers, public servants, parents, managers and shop floor workers.

Burnout symptoms are feedback. Most read this feedback as ‘I am overworking’. I just need a holiday. I just need to find another job. When in fact the symptoms are feedback to tell you that it is time to ‘pull back’.  Yes ‘Pull back!’. You may ask how is this not the same as avoiding or going on holiday?

When your energy level drops and your drive is depleted.  This is physiological feedback to pull back from what you are doing. Not avoid what you are doing.  It may seem to be a fine distinction.  But this fine distinction will put you on the trajectory of wellness from burnout.

When you are experiencing burnout symptoms such as fatigue and a lack lustre drive.  It happens because you are being ‘nice’.  You are being polite. You are looking to help or assist others. I do not mean the occasional niceness. I mean you will ‘be constantly nice’. As you read the word ‘constantly’, and you picture what this looks like.  You can feel your own body’s energy drop.  That energy drop occurred with the phrase ‘be constantly nice’. This is creating burnout. You are taking away the other person’s accountability. Accountability for their own welfare, their own learning, their own role.

What do you do when burnout strikes?

Give the accountability back to the person by criticising them. Yes, criticising them. Watch how quickly they sit up straight. Watch how quickly they snap back their own accountability.

Your own energy levels will return. This works every time. The answer is not in avoiding but the answer lies in pulling back with a quick slap.

So, does Burnout only happen when we are nice?  Yes, being nice, plays a major role in burnout.  Especially when the niceness is a pretence or forced.

The next challenge is “How do I criticize someone, without hurting them?”. The answer to that will be in another post.

If you want more details on managing your own burnout and get the zest back into your life. Then contact me for a ‘Beat the Burnout session’.

Footnote:  In May 2019 the WHO (World Health Organisation) classified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”.
Featured Wellbeing

Have you heard of repurposing? Often the answer to a big problem is simple.

Some Context

We are known as a throwaway generation. We discard possessions and concepts, theories, and notions. We throw out material possessions because we have no use for them. This applies to concepts and theories. If we have no need for a concept and do not see the purpose, then we throw it out.

There is an old saying that I really like, you’ve probably heard it a few times by now. The saying goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Some concepts that we might find to be useless, others will find a use for. I can easily think of a few people that have taken a failed idea or concept and turned it into a thriving business or lifestyle. This is because ideas can be recycled and repurposed until one day they fit. We want to be that person who experiences a thriving business or lifestyle. To be that person who turns a concept or idea around and makes it work. Uber and Netflix are great examples of taking a concept or idea and making it work. They did not reinvent the wheel they repurposed an idea.

Let’s Have Another Look

Repurposing works in all areas of life from personal to professional. There are songs that have been repurposed. There is a whole generation of millennials enjoying music that was first heard in the 1960’s. The song is not in the same form as it once was. It has been repurposed and becomes successful again.

Back in 1984 the acronym S.M.A.R.T. appeared in the business world. This morphed into other acronyms, such as BHAG ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’. S.M.A.R.T was being repurposed.

It’s widely accepted that learning from our history can better prepare us for the future. Repurposing allows for the recycling of a previous concept. Taking something that worked in the past and remodeling it into something that fits with the requirements of the current generation. Turning old into new. A refreshed look and feel. Presenting the wisdom of the ages to the current generation.

Repurposing Works

During one of my recent Personal Strategy sessions. My client was struggling to maintain professional conduct with a colleague. The colleague was labelled arrogant and would not listen. This relationship was impacting on my client’s work performance and work enjoyment.

It became clear to my client that they would need to ‘be the change’ rather than expect the change from their colleague. Expecting a change in someone else is like waiting for a kettle of water to boil without adding heat. Instead, we repurposed the relationship between my client and their colleague. Once the purpose had been remodeled and refreshed. Clear, concise and simple strategies were revealed. When you repurpose. Strategies and action steps become obvious. They become Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Trackable.

Consider before throwing out a concept, notion or theory, can I repurpose this? What if there is no need to reinvent the wheel.?  What can I create by repurposing? This is a powerful thought process that I use with my clients.  It can be applied in all areas of life, work and relationships.  Rethink before you discard using the wisdom of the past into repurposing for the future.

Featured Real Relationships

Finding the one


The Non-Negotiable List

Choosing one significant intimate partner who fufils your needs and then having good friends who fulfil other needs is a wise option. This does not mean you should be playing the field, it is about placing less unrealistic expectations on your partner to fulfil ALL your needs. As the saying goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Placing unrealistic expectations on your partner will result in both heartache and chaos.

Will Smith openly shared his decision to ‘resign from making Jada happy’. It was his way of affirming Jada’s ability to make herself happy. He did not resign because he loved her less, it came from a place where he loved her enough to understand that she has what she needs within herself.

There are many activities one can do to bring a relationship into being. When this exercise is completed, the success rate of finding an intimate partner will happen within a period of two days to two months.


The Focused Partner Seeking Exercise

It’s time to reveal what you are looking for in your future partner…

Make a list of all the attributes or ‘wants’ you are looking for in a partner. Make sure you get specific. Here are some ideas or common attributes that people often think of:

  • Physical appearance – height, build, colour of eyes and hair
  • Career – working in a trade, self-employed or a professional
  • Hobbies – type, commonality, and level of involvement
  • Family – relationships with immediate family and extended family
  • Religion
  • Financial status
  • Children
  • Sexual preferences
  • Social habits
  • Characteristic Traits

Be as creative as you like. The list can be as long as you like.

Start making the list and give yourself time to complete the exercise.  Once the first version of your list is ready, take some time out and walk away from the task. Allow the energy and intention to settle in.

It may be a couple of hours or days before you go back to your list and make any changes that might have come to mind whilst you were away.

Once you have completed the final version of your list; choose five items on your list that are non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are the ‘must haves’ in an intimate partner. Choose only five non-negotiables! Write these five items down in a column labelled “Non-Negotiable”.

Next, add up the number of remaining items on your list. Divide this number by four (rounding off to the nearest whole number where necessary). The divided number then identifies how many items on the list will need to be added to each of the remaining four columns that are still to be created. For example, if your list added up to 39 items. Divide 39 by 4 = 10,10,10 & 9.

Your columns will have the following headings:

  • Non-Negotiable – 5 ‘must haves’ only.
  • Somewhat negotiable
  • Negotiable
  • Easily negotiable
  • Non-essential 

Now scan your list and start moving each ‘want’ into one of the header columns. Keep rearranging the ‘wants’ until you have spread them evenly amongst the columns.

You now have a view of what you are looking for in a partner. It is a focused view that is specific to your own lense.

Next time you are on a date, mentally check if they tick the five non-negotiables. If they do not, then move on. Your non-negotiables are just that… non-negotiable! I strongly recommend going on no less than three dates with the same person before you decide to either move on or give it a shot.

Think of these dates as ‘trials’, which gives you the license and flexibility to find out more about the person. As with all trials you will be collecting data and assessing whether they have what you are looking for.

Should they tick all the items on your non-negotiable list, carry on checking off all the other items in the remaining four columns as you continue to see this person more often.

Anytime you start dating someone and you know they do not tick all the non-negotiables, you are settling for something less than what you want and desire. It will ultimately turn pear-shaped. However, if you have found someone who fulfils your Non-Negotiable list, you will be ready to do what it takes to have a fulfilling relationship. If they do not fulfil your non-negotiables, you will be unconsciously trying to change them.

My blog area is dedicated to assisting people in providing real-world perspective on life matters. Not everything I write about is easy to digest… However, you’ll begin to see that when you are more critical of your expectations and start to focus your intentions, then you will set yourself on life journeys that are better aligned to who you are. This is especially true when looking for intimate partners.

Now go out there and get that special person who will fulfil your Non-Negotiable List 😊

AG Signing out!