Circuit Breaking the Burnout
Sorry I disappeared for a little while with this blog!
The months of June — July were pretty intense which pushed me to work hours and at a tempo that wasn’t particularly sustainable or enjoyable.
Most of it was self-inflicted, some of it was not.
Truth be told, by early July I was straight-up burned out.
You’ve probably felt this way before yourself, maybe you’re feeling it now. This was my little list of symptoms:
👉 Broken sleep and waking up in the middle of the night catastrophising various outcomes (most of which were not tethered to reality)
👉 Getting snappy with those around me for little to not reason
👉 Struggling to concentrate and perform…feeling ‘spread thin’
👉 Oscillating between apathy and panic at the slightest stressor
👉 Physical exhaustion
Not a nice place to be.
Fortunately there was an end in sight, and that end was a much-needed holiday in Thailand and Bali.
The first few days actually felt pretty manic in Thailand — I just ‘had’ to fill my time with something. I literally couldn’t sit still and just chill. In a country where cannabis is legal.
When you’re in a tropical paradise and this is how you feel — you know you’ve burned the candle.
Needless to say, it took a good 3–4 days but the chill did set in. And it was glorious.
It was glorious not only because I escaped winter and just ‘stopped’, but because I was able to reconnect with my inner self, explore again and digest the many, many lessons over the past 12 months.
(12 months ago our holiday in Costa Rica took a traumatic turn, having been badly robbed then getting stuck over there because we had no passport and no Australian embassy in country, plus mass covid-related flight cancellations but that’s a story for another day!)
My wife and I would spend days exploring hidden beaches, tasting exotic food, mingling with curious locals, getting lost on our scooter and not even knowing what time it was.
Ah, to live and breathe again, to feel like a child again, to feel human!
It really got me thinking about the old cliche, ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Your body and soul are amazing creations. They hold the keys to infinite wisdom, even if that wisdom isn’t readily accessible to your conscious mind. And they know your limits, even if you don’t think you do.
Your mind can create many stories or talk you out of many things, but your inner self usually knows best….if only you could stop and hear what it has to say!
For me, the answers were clear as day — I permitted an environment that allowed my stressors to get the better of me and was working at a totally unsustainable pace. It was only a matter of time.
If you’re doing things that don’t give you fulfilment, or you’re doing too many things even if they do give you fulfilment, it’s only a matter of time.
If you’re doing things that aren’t aligned to your values and you find yourself asking ‘what on earth am I doing this for’…it’s only a matter of time!
So how do we avoid these pitfalls?
Well for me, it now comes down to radical time management.
I have since defined for myself what is truly important in my life and have allocated a certain amount of time to these elements. It’s brutal and some people don’t understand, but the alternative to a little upfront disappointment is far, far worse (cue my list above).
It can be a juggling act, after all life is fluid, but in the 4 weeks since my return it has protected me from getting right back into the same hole as before I left.
We all have many external demands on your time, but there are only 24 hours in a day, of which about 16 are waking.
This isn’t necessarily everything I did, but could be something to help you:
👉 Setting boundaries with family or friends, if their problems are consuming you
👉 Allocating yourself non-negotiable ‘me’ time to check in with yourself and make sure you’re aligned with your goals
👉 Switching off technology minimum 1 hour before bed
👉 Taking another look at the role money plays in your life, and adjusting your debt profile if it’s no longer serving your goals
👉 Getting up early and exercising (I didn’t used to be a morning person, this one changed my life once I broke through the initial barrier)
👉 If your hobby or side hustle is becoming tedious, pare it back a little so you can start to enjoy it again
👉 Setting boundaries at work, for example not working unpaid overtime
👉 Mapping out some short, medium and long-term things to look forward to (I write them on my mirror in whiteboard marker so they’re the first things I see when I get up)
Time is your most valuable, precious resource. You can earn plenty of money but you won’t get time back.
Look at it with that lens and see what changes may come!
And if the above feels way too hard to do in your current headspace, that’s totally ok — get your bum into the car or a plane and find that circuit-breaker so you can decide in the right headspace!
Immigration is Life
Do you like stories that you can relate to?
That tug the heart strings, even just a little?
From the moment we connected, I had a great bond with Nicky Billou
Yes he’s from Iran and i’m from the Soviet Union, two vastly different places, yet the parallels were definitely there.
Leaving a country with few opportunities, with deep oppression, with no respect for human life — this is a big deal.
Doing so without assets or support — it’s a huge deal.
In fact, it is the ultimate decisiveness, one of the key topics we discussed in Episode 7 of the podcast.
I take my hat off to any immigrant anywhere that decides to pack up their life and seek a better future somewhere.
It takes serious guts and at a minimum you risk your time, finances and often your very life.
As much as some governments in the West (ahem, Australia) try to stop or prevent forms of immigration, the pursuit of individual liberty, freedom, safety and dignity is an inalienable right of every human.
To pretend that one person is more worthy than another of the rights above…if you think this, then your privilege has blinded you.
To pretend that you exclusively own a piece of land in perpetuity, when generations upon generations before you (usually of different ethnicity and origin) have walked this land…it’s probably time to take a look at the world’s history.
Nobody truly owns anything. A piece of paper is only worth the paper it’s written on if there’s a big enough power to enforce it.
The world is fluid.
In reality, we are simply occupying a space at a point in time…once you stop occupying it, then it moves to the next visitor, and the cycle continues.
Moving along, how inspiring it is to hear a fellow immigrant talk about resourcefulness?!
In a world where fast cars and expensive yachts dominate our social feeds, getting back to basics and a little closer to most of our realities was rather refreshing.
Most immigrants don’t have much…some come with nothing at all.
In 1991 we came to Australia with $300, our suitcases and a whole lotta hope. Nicky’s family did the same to Canada.
You can be dealt many cards in life, but it doesn’t mean you need to settle.
However small you need to start to get where you want to get — just start. Whether it’s skills, money, experience or fame — it’s HOW you use what you’ve got that will make the difference.
Don’t trust me, see for yourself — look at your situation and if it’s not serving you, make an incremental plan to your objectives and the universe will start to provide. Then go for the strategic win!
Respect Your Neighbour
A few people have privately commented on how Nicky delivered his points, and on his political views.
One person who I will not name went so far as to question why i’d give Nicky a platform to voice his ‘divisive’ views.
To my dear listeners that feel this way — no offense, it appears you’ve missed the point entirely that we made in the episode.
The rational exchange of ideas is THE most important function of a free, respectful, harmonious, prosperous society.
If we behave as sheep and simply just conform, or shout down those we disagree with, we create an echo chamber and a culture where mistakes and abuse can proliferate to the detriment of all.
If you remove the incentive to exchange ideas, then you create a fetid swamp.
Think of where the Soviet Union ended up thanks to this very mindset. Think of where Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are at the moment, and where they’re headed. Do you really want to go back to the Middle Ages with all the glory it entailed?
As I said in the episode, I may not agree with everything a guest says, but I will fight to the death (figuratively speaking) for their right to say it…as long as it’s not abusive to others.
That’s why it’s important to listen to a diverse set of views and decide for yourself — you as a human are truly intelligent and capable enough to do this!
Without freedom of speech there is no innovation, no progression, no ideas, no light…no life.
And there’s one thing we all should love — that’s life.
May success be with you! 💙 💚