Avoiding Entrepreneurial Burnout

Avoiding Entrepreneurial Burnout

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: Avoiding Entrepreneurial Burnout

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:

Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio BizTalk for biz owners during the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two time bestselling author will cover topics. That'll help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.

Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio with me, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. And this week we are going to jump right in because we have a topic that, Oh my gosh. Unfortunately we've all been there at some point or another, and sometimes some of us more often than others. And we are going to talk with a CBO this week. Our guest is a CBO. Now you're probably saying CBO. I know what a CEO is. I know what a CFO is. Maybe even a CMO. What the heck is a CBO? CBO is our guest this week, Mr. Michael Levitt. And he is the founder and the chief burnout officer, my coach. Welcome to the show.

Great to be with you today. I'm looking forward to our conversation.

Yeah, absolutely. So so I guess tell us your journey. Tell, talk to us about your entrepreneurial journey. That's led you to be a CBL.

Yeah, that journey is many people end up on a journey like this because of tragedy. And in my case, that's what happened. But it was a reluctant entrepreneur. I never set out to be my own business owner, but a series of unfortunate events and, or what I like to call is my year of worst case scenarios put me in this situation and I'm quite thankful for it. So let's go back in time a little bit, not all the way back to the beginning of my career as a grocery store clerk, but we'll go back. You know, when I, you know, was out of college and I worked in public accounting and all of that good stuff, fast forward to 2007 I started as a new healthcare executive for a startup healthcare organization, just outside of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, across the border from Detroit.

That's going to be important in a couple of minutes. I had zero healthcare experience. I had a lot of startup experience. I'd worked for many organizations that were in startup mode. So I knew the ropes as far as, okay, you got to get this set up and the website and all of this. But for me, I was a brand new employee and had to recruit physicians, hire medical personnel, hire all kinds of different people figure out what what type of cleaning equipment we needed. I had no idea what kind of health care equipment actually needed to be in a clinic. So it was a steep learning curve pretty quick. And when you're in a startup and I know most of your listeners have been through, and you're the entrepreneur you're putting in some long hours. Now, mind you, I was an employee, but I took on this role as if it was mine.

It was my business, which probably wasn't the best thing for me to do because I was working basically 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, seven days a week. And I did that for a couple of years. Oh wow. And that's not sustainable. And I know many people put in those kinds of hours. And what happened after the two years is, you know, my body decided, okay, enough is enough. And what I had was what I call my year of worst case scenarios. So over a period of 369 days from May, 2009 to May, 2010, the following happened to me first.

I had a heart attack that should have killed me.

Oh, geez.

17 weeks later, I lost my job during the great recession. Then it took me several months to find a new job which required a relocation to Toronto. So I left a community of about a quarter million to the greater Toronto area that has about 7 million slight difference in commute time.

But as I was in this new role after a couple of weeks my oldest daughter who was 10 at the time called and was crying and I couldn't understand a thing she was saying. And finally I was able to get from her that the bank had come and repossessed her family vehicle. Oh, geez. And then finally about a month later after moving the family up to Toronto and we forgot the bunk bed ladder at the house that we were going to sell for our daughter's bunk beds. So I went back there the following weekend and open up the front door and saw the largest padlock I've ever seen in my life and a small sticker on the door that said foreclosure. So here we are in a year heart attack that should have killed me, lost my job during the great recession car, repossession, home foreclosure.

And all of those things happened because I was burned out. I wasn't taking care of myself. I was making mistakes at work. I just wasn't, you know, the right didn't have the right mindset to approach everything in life. And it came to a crashing halt and it was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me because it did give me another opportunity, which I took full advantage of, but I did a lot of deep work to figure out why in the world did I do the things that I did? Why was I living the way that I was doing?

Why was my nutrition plan, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, ordering into a microphone, driving around the corner, paying for it and getting handed a Brown bag. That's what I ate for two years. And just not sleeping, not doing anything. And a lot of entrepreneurs unfortunately find themselves in that type of situation from time to time because the workloads of running a business are just absolutely insane.

But from that, I went back into healthcare. After I recovered, my parents wanted to have me committed. They're like, you're nuts. Why in the world are you going back in there? Because I knew that I could do it differently. And I did. And I stayed in health care for several years, but then after working in it and looking around me and seeing a lot of people doing the same thing that I was doing, I thought, wait a minute, I can't allow this to happen. So I have to start researching burnout a little bit more and figure out why it happens for people and ended up launching my business.

And and for several years now have been doing it full time and, and helping organizations and speaking around the globe around burnout and why it's so devastating to organizations and individuals. And some simple as life is simple, but it can be really hard, but simple steps that we'll talk about later on one, how to quickly recover from burnout, and then some things you can do to prevent it from happening ever again.

Well, I'll tell you, Michael is if you know, you have written three books about burnout and as if that wasn't enough, and you've spoken about it, as you sent around the world, what you, the story you just told us you are like the poster child to know what burnout looks like, what causes it, and I'm sure how to avoid it. If you, you know, since you've avoided it, since that, that, that terrible 369 days you had,

Yeah. I definitely know what burnout tastes like. And I know the signs and I know the warning signs of it and how it feels I didn't then, you know, during it, I definitely didn't. I was completely in a fog, which is a common thing that people face when they're really burned out as they just they're. They're not clear on anything they're in a fog. They don't feel good. They're fatigued. The World Health Organization defines burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. That's caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Even thinking about this pandemic, it's been excessive, it's been prolonged. So that's why we're seeing a lot of people flirting with burnout just because of the pandemic.

Yeah. Well, and you're exactly right. You mentioned it earlier. I mean, so many startups business owners, entrepreneurs suffer from it as well, because you know, you're driven, you want to be successful. And, you know, I know even I've had clients that have definitely been suffering from burnout it at one stage of it or another. And it just, it's really too common in this space.

 And that's why I wanted to have you on Michael, because I know that folks out there probably are suffering from it. And don't even realize it maybe in the same boat that you are. And hopefully we can steer them away from having a year of worst-case scenarios. We don't, we don't want anyone to have to go through what you went through for sure. But we are up against a break here. We're going to come hit the break, come back after getting the Mr. Biz tip of the week and continue talking with Michael Levitt, who is the chief burnout officer

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All right. Welcome back to the show.

It's time for Mr. Biz tip of the week. And this week's tip is a short, but sweet one. Stop talking about it and start being about it. Everything's about execution, great ideas. Don't get you anywhere. We've talked about this on the show many times, but you have to actually execute. You have to actually take action. You're going to make mistakes along the way. Don't allow fear to get in your way of taking action. You're you're no matter how smart you are, you're probably gonna make some mistakes. That's okay. You can adjust and adapt as you go along, but you gotta start. You gotta take action. You got to stop talking about things and start actually doing things and make them happen. So that's Mr. Biz tip of the week, and

I alluded to Michael, our guest this week, Michael Levitt has written three books, and they're all available on Amazon.

I want to mention them real quick here burnout proof 369 days, how to survive a year of worst case scenarios, which we all heard a little bit about that during the first segment and then burn out how you entered the path to burn out. So again, check those out on Amazon,

Michael Levitt search for those, or search by the title of the book, obviously, and you'll find them out there. But, but Michael, tell us a little bit more and I should have mentioned he he's the chief burnout officer of the breakfast leadership network. And so tell us a little bit more about the breakfast leadership network. What do you guys do? And how's that wall work? Yeah, that organization launched several years ago. Originally I was consulting strictly with C-suite executives from fortune 500 to small business non-profits because I was an executive and I burned out and I realized that I wasn't the only one doing that. So started working with individuals. And then as I was

Working with these really important executives, and one of the side effects of this business is you see this a lot of business owners and consultants and whatnot. We'll have all the companies that they work for, you know, on their website. So, you know, I worked for this company and this company, well, some of the people that I worked with are obviously with fortune 500 organizations or publicly traded organizations.

And if it got out that the CEO of said, company is stressed or burned out, their stock is going to tank and it could cost people trillions of dollars. So needless to say, I don't tell who I work for other than kind of a blanket, a window type of thing. But as I was working with these individuals, you know, I started noticing that their teams kind of look like miniature versions of them because you know, we've heard of trickle down economics, you know, love it or hate it. Burnout can trickle down for sure, because what happens is employees will mimic the behavior of their bosses or their leaders. So if their leaders are sending emails seven days a week, all day and all night, then your employees think, okay, that's the norm. And I have to do that too, in order to keep up, because I don't want to fall behind or, you know, get in trouble with the boss. So it starts to permeate through an entire organization. So the leader sets the tone of how things are going to work. So doing that work was great.

And then I started writing content and of course the books as well, and launching the breakfast leadership show and all of that. And I was talking with an individual and, you know, it was explaining all the things he was doing. He said it was, so you got a media firm and I'm like, no, I don't have a media firm. So when you've got media, you've done this, you're doing this, you're writing the books, you've got published content on your website. You're doing all these things, you're speaking globally. So you have a media firm. So it, it kind of birth a birth in a way, which was, you know, a lot and unintended, but, but I'm rolling with it. It works. You know, I, I haven't had the opportunity to, or haven't chosen to use the opportunity to get press passes because of course being a media firm, you get press passes. So I'm like, I gotta do that. And all those good concerts that I always wanted to go to. And there you go, finally, I could get into that concert and not pay $10,000 a seat, but you know, it's been so long since I've been to a counselor, I'm almost tempted to pay $10,000 for a seat just to go,

No kidding. But you know, so, you know, the work that I do,

You know, when they go into organizations, because we're seeing the stats are just alarming. You know, the Hartford insurance just recently did a study and they said 61% of employees that they surveyed or identifying as having some type of burnout. And even Deloitte did a study not too long ago where they said 77% of those surveyed have indicated that they have burned out in their current job. So you look at these numbers and you're going, okay, that impacts a lot of things. One, you know, the personal health of the are definitely being impacted. We're seeing, you know, the cases of mental health, illness and absenteeism at work, because people are just stressed out to the point of no return. And then also to you organization, you know, you're a leader, you're a small business owner. If you're too tired and fatigued to do things, then you're not going to see opportunities as clearly as you normally would, to be able to do things in your business that you want to do.

So when you lack that clarity and you kind of operating in a fog, you're going to miss out on some things to could actually make your business grow, which could give you the additional revenue you need to bring on additional help, which can offload some of the things that us business owners and entrepreneurs think that we're good at. But we all know there are things we do that we are not good at. I know that my original career, public accounting, do I do my accounting for my work? No, could I, of course do I know? Not that because I'm not good at it. Like I, that's not what I should be working on should be working on doing things like this, having conversations with you, speaking at conferences, not able to use AI to do that necessarily for me yet, but I'm sure there'll be a time where I could do it.

And, but, you know, we'll, we'll, we'll challenge that another day, but yeah, at the end of the day, though, it's for organizations, a couple of things that I see that happen a lot is entrepreneurs. They launch their businesses. Things are growing really well. Things are good. And in a weird sort of way, they kind of forget that passion that they had for launching the business in the first place, because most entrepreneurs have something like, they really believe in whatever they're offering their product or service. They, they it's like their own kid and they love it. And then they get into the work in the building, the business and all the business that happens. And they kind of forget about that. You know, they just get back into I'm just in business mode and you know, some of them, and we, you know, I know you've had conversations plenty of times with people that have had to stop and thinking like, okay, is this actually better than me working a nine to five somewhere? And when they start asking themselves that question in a way that sad, because it means they forgot the reason why they left that nine to five in the first place was because they wanted to make a difference. They wanted to control their own destiny and build something that could be long lasting for themselves, their family, whatever the case may be. And too often, because they're stressed and the burnout kicks in, they lose that passion. They forget it. It's still there. But unfortunately with the fatigue and everything else, it kind of takes a back seat.

Yeah, no, and I think you're right. And it's so prevalent. And I can't even imagine, and you, you mentioned it earlier, but some folks that were maybe on the verge of burnout last February, March, and then all the events of the pandemic hit. And I can't imagine how many people that just sent into a deep spiral. But you know, the, the example you laid out I think is so true, Michael, of, you know, you get into the business and you don't realize you're really good at that service or that product that you're producing. You're really good at that. But a lot of the other business aspects you're not good at, and those are the things that burn you out because they stress you out because you're not good at them. You don't enjoy doing them, et cetera. And you know, that's why delegation becomes so, so important.

But we're almost up against a break here and we're going to come back in the third segment, we are going to pick Michael's brain and he is going to tell us some, give us some burnout prevention tips. What are some things that we should be looking for? What are some you know, telltale signs that, you know, obviously you heard his story, you know, he's lived through this big time, as well as his credentials. He's written three books about it and he speaks about it globally. So we're really going to dive in and have Michael help us sort of recognize some of those signs, that of burnout and how to prevent those things. So we're gonna hit a break. We'll come back. And can you talk with Michael Levitt from breakfast leadership network?

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All right. Welcome back to the show. And I should mention those of you out there wondering now, geez, how can I get ahold of Michael? So first of all, you can go to www.breakfastleadership.com. Also, I would suggest go out and follow him on social media. So he's everywhere. But LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, you can look for a Bfast leadership, obviously short for breakfast be fast leadership YouTube. He's got a podcast. Look for breakfast leadership. You will find Mr. Michael Levitt and find out more about what he does. And as a matter of fact, he has some free resources on his website. If you go to www.breakfastleadership.com/tools  there are some, some free resources there that I know would be valuable for you. So that'll being said, Michael, talk to us about some burnout prevention tips you have for us

First and foremost is you need to focus on getting restful sleep. Our bodies face damage every day, doesn't matter how healthy of a lifestyle you live. We still do damage to ourselves on a daily basis from the information that we consume, the food we eat, the activity we do, or lack of activity. You know, this pandemic has definitely impacted a lot of people because they haven't been as active as they were before the pandemic started. So focus on getting really restful sleep, and I'm going to go even further, invest as much money as you can in the best mattress you can afford. Because getting a good night's sleep is so important because sleep without it, you know, your cognitive ability is impacted pattern recognition, your ability to withstand stress all kinds of things, play a part if you are arrested or not.

And if you don't, then if you don't get good sleep, it's going to have a domino effect on everything else that you do another sign to of, or another tip I should say, that will help you with burnout is eating healthier.

Now I'm not going to tell you to stop eating fast food. I'll let your doctor or dietician do that for me. But, but something that's even more important is each of us have food intolerances. We may be aware of them, or we might not be. So there's plenty of tests available now where you can figure out what foods actually bother you. And it's important because when we're sleeping, going back to sleep, our body is breaking down the foods we ate throughout the day and all of that kind of stuff. And if we have a food that is a toxin, or we have an intolerance towards, it's a lot like eating poison to us now, it's not going to kill us, hopefully, but it's not good for us.

So your body is doing all this energy or using energy to break down these foreign toxins. If you don't have those in your system, then your body's breaking down the foods that are good for you that are, that don't bother you. And then that way your body can use that other part of the energy to focus on other aspects of your life to make sure you get healthier and rest and sleep well, because we all know how we feel. When we wake up out a really good night's sleep, we feel amazing. And we also know what it feels like if we got allows the night's sleep. So it's so important for you to focus on that. Thirdly, and this is a big one too, is prioritizing your self-care. Now, if you hear self care, you might be thinking, okay, I'm talking about yoga or meditation or moments of Zen.

Sure. If that stuff works for you, go for it. But self care is also doing things in life you like doing, and it could be reading, writing, going for a drive, going on a nature trail, going golfing or swimming or shopping, or going on trips or going to the ballgame or a sporting event, or watching Netflix or Disney plus, or the 18,000 streaming services. We all seem to have any more. We all cut that. We all cut the cable cord and we're praying more now than we were before. I don't know if you guys have figured that math out yet. But you do it. You go, wow, wait a minute. It'd be cheaper to be on cable, but yeah. You know, they got ya, but at the end of the day, you know, we get, we got some great content that we could watch.

That's self care though. You enjoy it. You know, think about things that make you happy and joyful and do those things, schedule those things because we don't, when you're stressed and you're burned out. One of the first things to go is your fun time. Because as a business owner, you're working so many hours and study after study is indicating our productivity levels in a quote unquote eight hour day is less than four hours. So why are you putting in 12? You're not getting an extra eight hours productivity because you had to that you're not gaining anything. So going back to what you said earlier about delegation. Yeah. Delegate as much as you can. And I know a lot of it costs money. Yes it does. But it's also costing your wellbeing as well. So figure out what you really need to do in your business at this particular point in time.

Do what only you can do delegate the rest, and you'll be a lot better off. And in going back to the self care, you have to schedule these things. And, and I'm really diligent on my calendar. I color code my calendar so I can look at it and see things. One of the things that I do, and you can do this with a, an electronic calendar or even a paper calendar is my self-care. I color code it with my favorite color, which happens to be blue. Yours could be green or purple or whatever, but anything that you schedule that is beneficial to you, that you like doing an Academy, it could be exercise, or it could be, you know, watching television or reading a book or whatever, schedule those throughout your week, at least two or three times a week, but use your favorite color.

And the reason why is when you look at your calendar either this week or next week, or even look in the past couple of weeks, if you don't see enough of your favorite color, that's a problem. And then you can adjust it accordingly. So by doing that, I, I find that I can, you know, prevent my own, you know, self of getting burnt out again, because it's even, you know, somebody like me that knows about it and talks about all the time. You're definitely prone to it. Because as a business owner, there are opportunities. There are things you like doing that are great, and you get all kinds of different opportunities, phone calls, meetings, this, all that, and they're all great. But the problem is we only have a certain amount of time every day that we can do those things. So we can easily overload ourselves with great things. They're not foolish things. They're great. But if you overwhelm yourself with these, then you're likely going to start stressing out because you can't keep up with your to-do list and then things start falling through the cracks and you get stressed out about that. And then you start running down that, that risk of having prolonged stress, which unfortunately turns into burnout.

Yeah. Yeah. I can see, I mean, look, so I just real quick, I want to, I don't want to jump in here too fast, but you know, you'd mentioned the best mattress you can afford. I am an absolute 1000% believer in that. And, you know, even just using the rough numbers of, if you sleep eight hours a day, which I know not everyone does, but that's a third of your life, you know, where are you spending a third of your life? And, you know, what's the difference, a few thousand dollars here or there. And I know I don't say that flippantly, but man, for a third of your life, and like you said, without good sleep, it impacts every other aspect of your life. Not just your business, not just your career, your personal relationships, everything. So, yeah, I'm definitely, definitely, definitely down with a restful sleep, obviously eating healthy and the self care. And I love what you said about the self care as far as scheduling it, because it is, that is one of the first things that I think go, I know with myself, it is. And so I think scheduling it is super important.

I think Michael, Michael Hyatt, I believe it was Michael Hyatt said what gets scheduled, gets done. And, and I do it and it's like, sometimes you're like, wait a minute. This is my work schedule. And all of a sudden it has, you know, watch Avengers or whatever or something silly, you know, but it's not silly because like, you know what, I'm going to watch that and I'm going to enjoy it. And I'm not going to have my eye Banky. That's my brother's nickname for my iPhone because I can't put the thing down, you know, it's, it's, it's because they use it for work, but you know, it's whenever I see him, he's like, do you think you can put your iBanking away for about five minutes? So yes, brother, I can, you know, and it's so funny. He's a little, he's my, he's my younger brother. So I don't know where that role reversal, like I, I think this is payback for the, all the big brother stuff that I did. So yes. It's all fun.

Yes, it's probably is. Yeah. That's probably a little bit of karma coming back and biting in the butt there with the big brother stuff. Just, we bet. Well, Mike we're, unfortunately we're running out of time here. But look, I think the things that you shared not only, you know, some of the tips you shared, but also your story and, you know, a cautionary tale of some of those things that could lead into this terrible situation that you had of the year of worst case scenarios. I really, really appreciate you coming onto the show.

Thank you so much. I always love chatting with any love your show.

Awesome. Appreciate it again. Go out to www.breakfastleadership.com to find out more about Michael. Thanks for listening guys. Have a great week and don't forget. Cash flow is King.

This has been Mr. Biz Radio to learn how to become part of Mr. Biz Nation. Visit www.MrBizSolutions.com for access to free weekly content. Subscribe to the Mr. Biz YouTube channel and follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to listen to archive shows. You can find them on the Mr. Biz Solutions website.


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