Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:00:01]:
Allowed. Addressing burnout is something that we ought not have any shame around. And in fact, when we address our burnout, we are being of service to others. But it’s important to do it not just to be of service to others, but to see ourselves as part of that systemic whole. Yeah, especially as leaders. You know, no one wants to follow a burnt out leader, even if they’re hiding it with all their might. You can just feel in your energy where they are allowed. You are allowed to be whole. I’m dr caneel Joyce I’m here to affirm that you are not missing anything. Just imagine with me for a moment that you are and always have been enough. You have always been enough. Imagine that aloud. When you were born, you were whole, perfect. And somewhere along the way, you learned that parts of you were not allowed here. What are the pieces of you that you have put into the basement? And how can you reclaim the wholeness that is your birthright? You are allowed to grow. You are allowed to dream. You are allowed to be exactly who you are and to become the next version of who you want to be. Start your journey of exploration with me right now on Allowed. You are allowed to be whole. Today’s. Brilliant guest Erin Roccio is a friend and collaborator. I met Aaron through our work together at the Evolution coaching firm, a firm in which she is a partner and I formally was a partner, and I still collaborate with them on occasion. And she’s going to be teaching us about wholeness and what keeps us away from that and especially burnout, which is one of the most severe ways to feel separated from your aliveness. Hi, Erin.
Erin Rocchio [00:01:58]:
Hi, Caneel. Thanks for having me. So lovely to be back.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:02:01]:
Thanks so much for being here. Erin, tell us about I know we’re going to talk about burnout a lot, but the goal is not just not to be burnt out, is it? What’s the reason why this is such important work to focus on?
Erin Rocchio [00:02:16]:
When we are disconnected from parts of ourselves, when we have denied our own needs, denied our dreams and compartmentalize or try to fit into a box that’s not actually ours or was made for us, it can lead to suffering. And that happens a lot in the workplace. I think for many of us, it got amplified in the pandemic. And this experience of suffering from our work life is hard enough as a human being in the modern world, we’ve got plenty to deal with. And so in my work as an executive coach and working in building healthy culture, I see a lot how much more pressure workplaces add to the human pressure we already feel. I’m really committed to ending that and creating spaces where we get to be our whole selves. We get to really flourish in all the things that matter to us, not just in our personal life, but also in all the ways that our purpose and calling express themselves at work.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:03:15]:
We’re now in a period of intensifying economic and societal and environmental pressure. And I know a lot of businesses, especially in the last few months in particular, kind of since the Russia Ukraine invasion, we’ve been feeling the pressure of the markets of inflation. And I know that a lot of my client companies are kind of hunkering down, even doing strategic pivots, getting ready. This is a time where the instinct is really like, we’ve got to push. This is existential. But I think that a lot of our listeners as leaders and managers may be wondering, if I concern myself with burnout, won’t that hurt productivity and really be a distraction from what we need to do, which is just to make it right?
Erin Rocchio [00:04:02]:
Yeah, that’s such an important question. And one of the things that I’ve noticed in leaders is that burnout is amplified when you hold responsibility for other people in your care. And so I’m most concerned about organizational leaders, cultural leaders, who have their own human needs that they are wrestling with, and they’re also responsible for caring for large groups of people and what it’s fine doing things the way we’ve done them. If we have one crisis and then we get to recover, we might have another crisis and then we get to recover. Right now, we are dealing with crisis upon crisis upon crisis, and the gap between the crises is getting smaller. And so it feels like we’re sprinting a marathon, and that is absolutely unsustainable. And so the people that have the power to influence and create positive change are going to be completely depleted before they’re able to make a difference. Those are the people that I really want to speak to and care deeply about in particular. And so part of my study has been, how do we support those people in the renewal process so that they can actually be way more effective in the performance and in the impact for longer? And so part of my work with homeless work is not just looking at you in this moment of time in your career, but the arc of your career, the arc of your legacy. And we really can’t sustain positive change if we’re not tending to ourselves in the process. It’s not antithetical to performance. It’s actually required for performance.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:05:32]:
How do we stop when it feels like we’re on this? It’s not even a hamster wheel. It’s like a tidal wave wheel, and we’re struggling to keep up. Are you asking us to stop?
Erin Rocchio [00:05:43]:
Yeah. No, not asking you to stop. What I’m asking you to do is pause. And the research is very clear that we don’t need huge stops or gaps in our performance in order to restore and feel whole, that actually we need micro moments throughout the day, like three to five minutes throughout our day to restore ourselves spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally. And I’ve got a lot of practices on those dimensions for folks to do this. But it’s small micro moments of stepping away, pausing, tuning into yourself, saying, what do I need? What does this moment need? And having resources around you and inside you to then go back into the arena and meet it with your fullness.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:06:30]:
First, maybe just help us understand what is burnout? How do we know we’re there?
Erin Rocchio [00:06:36]:
Yeah. So workplace burnout really is well studied and actually has three distinct symptoms. So the first symptom is you start to feel exhaustion, not just physical exhaustion, but emotional. So the way I’ve experienced this personally in my career is I notice I’m on a hair trigger. Like, I’ll just get upset about something that is inconsequential or I’ll get emotional. But the feeling of depletion and exhaustion is so severe. That’s the first symptom. The second one is we start to get cynical and feel hopeless about our ability to control or change things. So cynicism is huge. Withdrawal is another component of that. So it’s the pieces of essentially it’s saying the people and the ways in which I would normally restore myself, I feel are not going to make a difference. So I’m going to pull away. And so now it exacerbates the issue. And then the third is we start to depersonalize, which is like, especially for those of us in a caring role or teaching position or leadership position, where people are involved, we stop caring. It’s a survival mechanism. We have to separate and detach and we detach and depersonalize. And then you couple that with cynicism and the exhaustion, and then we go into the depths of despair, of burnout, if you will.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:07:55]:
Erin Rocchio [00:07:56]:
And it can take place gradually, I’ve noticed. I have a resource on my website that I’d love to have you share. But first it is there’s phases that we go through. So the first is like, I’m just going to prove myself even harder, I’m going to work harder, I’m going to double down. Right. For those of us like that’s normal course of businesses, push harder, work harder. Fine, that’s great. The problem comes in right around the next piece where we start to neglect our own needs. I feel I need reps. I feel I need a break to stop and rethink what we’re doing here. I’m going to ignore that need and ignore that voice and just power through. That’s a red flag for I’m moving into an unhealthy ineffective way of performance. Most people don’t realize they’re in Burnout until they’re in the Er. They go, My God, I’m having heart palpitations, or whatever. And that is obviously my hope, is that we can catch people well before that, and that if they are there, they’ve got resources, but that’s what it can look like in individuals. And so then you bring a team together where their norms of operating exacerbate that at the individual level. Now you’ve got a culture of burnout, and that’s what I’m particularly worried about because for many reasons. But we’re exacerbating our own suffering. And not only are we exacerbating our suffering, we’re actually inflicting it on other people when we’re in a position of power. That’s very problematic to me.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:09:31]:
Something that I’ve learned from my work with the Circle Up experience and my good friend Beth Anne Standig, is that humans are herd animals, just as horses are, and no animal can hold awareness of everything all of the time. And essentially, leadership is the holding of awareness. What’s going on with me? What’s going on with you, what’s going on with us, what’s going on with the environment broadly? How do we get these tasks done together? This is reminding me of it, because this thing of I have needs, and at first I’m aware of what’s going on with me, and then I begin to ignore those needs. Other animals in our herd, our human herd, can sense that we are not paying attention to that. And it’s not a bad or a good thing. It’s more that now there’s a sense of this person is dysregulated and no herd animal wants to follow a dysregulated herd animal.
Erin Rocchio [00:10:36]:
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:10:37]:
And, oh, I see that happen. It’s like one, five minutes, a client’s dysregulated in the meeting, and then they find a way to kind of resource themselves. They do a little breathing, a little inner work, and then they can regulate themselves again and heads turn back to them and they have attention and followership again. And it’s subtle, but it does happen so quickly, in my observation. It’s so well said.
Erin Rocchio [00:10:59]:
Camille because we are emotionally attuned beings. We know moods are contagious. We know that we have resonance or dissonance with the people around us. I’ve said this for a long time. Is that our well being? We often think that our well being is like an afterthought or it’s nice to have like, oh, I’ll sleep one day when I’m dead. No, especially if you’re a leader, tending to your regulation, your needs, your values, honoring your boundaries is absolutely vital to effective followership and leadership and impact. It’s literally impossible if you’re dysregulated to create the kind of impact you want.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:11:44]:
Aaron I’d love to hear about the different causes of burnout.
Erin Rocchio [00:11:47]:
Yeah. So with Wholeness that works out. I’ve got three resources for people on my website. They’re intended to be self guided coaching tools. They can be used by coaches with other people, they can be used by individuals, they can be used by teams. And so one of the things that I think we really need to look at in this conversation of burnout and wholeness is the many dimensions that create these conditions. So there’s definitely individual sources of burnout patterning, like the way we’re hardwired this is where enneagram comes in. But the way we think and behave naturally without thinking about it or unconsciously will keep us in a cycle of burnout. What sends us into wholeness is the individual work around our core values and some of the individual practices around boundary setting and communication. At the relational level, there are patterns of healthy communication and relating that support wholeness. There are toxic ways of relating, especially in work teams. And I’m trying to keep them crisp. So I’ll say, like, issues of inequity within a team, issues of control or lack thereof create conditions for the individual and the team to suffer where fairness is not present, that sort of thing. And then I also look at systems and at the system view, what kind of structures and mechanisms and practices, ways of behaving broadly support wholeness and well being and which actually perpetuate cycles of burnout. So for example, I was with a client’s team this week and they were talking about some of the ways in which they hire and some of the things that they look for in the criteria. And part of it kind of like really jolted me because they were basically saying that in order to be effective at their organization, you had to have no boundaries, you had to work 17 hours, days, whatever and you had to be always on. And these are some of the individual behaviors. But then they amplify this. They’re hiring and reinforcing this within their systemic all of their people processes. They’re rewarding and celebrating this kind of behavior. The leaders are modeling that. And then you wonder why people leave tech in, whatever, so many years. They’re like, I can’t live like this. Of course you can’t. Yeah. And so then some of these kind of unhealthy patterns get built into our structures. And that’s where I think we have a lot of work to do as people leaders, as organizational leaders. One last thing I’ll say about this is we cannot have a conversation about burnout or wholeness without also looking at systems of oppression.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:14:49]:
Erin Rocchio [00:14:50]:
And all the ways in which oppressive models overlay onto teams, organizations and individuals. We will never flourish without looking at that very acutely and deeply. And so I think it’s important to have a very honest, well educated conversation about how oppression also overlays into the burnout piece as well.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:15:15]:
Absolutely. And what’s coming to mind is the energetic effort that it takes to be a minority or the token woman in the room and how many things you feel you need to track just to make it through the meeting effectively and without exacerbating any of the already preexisting systems of oppression that are present in the room. And so I really like your model that it nests the individual within the context of how does the individual and their individual differences, whether it’s something demographic or a neuro difference or a personality difference, how does that interact with the environment they’re in? I know for myself, certain environments that others may flourish in, I would perish in. And I’ve had that personal experience and some that would absolutely freak other people out, I am completely at ease in. And that does come down to my enneagram type often, but I think that it applies at all levels that whoever you are listening to this, if you’re noticing the system around you, seems to be suggesting that it’s okay. For you to be burnt out. It’s okay for this to be uncomfortable for you, but it doesn’t maybe seem like it’s happening with others. I just want to give some validity to that suspicion. And we do tend to put a lot on ourselves, as I should be able to handle this better and not a helpful perspective. Probably something to be aware of as a pattern. I definitely do that to myself. But it’s true that we are embedded in a system.
Erin Rocchio [00:17:02]:
We can’t divorce ourselves from the systems and the society in which we are living.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:17:07]:
Erin Rocchio [00:17:08]:
Given what you said earlier, we are social creatures. We’re wired for connection. We are greatly impacted by our community around us, the spaces we’re in. And one thing I just want to kind of double click on what you just said I’m so happy you said that, is that we so far in our society have put the onus on the individual. If they’re in Burnout, you must not be resilient enough.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:17:32]:
Erin Rocchio [00:17:32]:
Which is total bullshit.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:17:35]:
Erin Rocchio [00:17:36]:
Because most people I know that are in Burnout are the most resilient, and they’re just in an environment that is a mismatch. And it’s not to say you have to go quit your job. There’s a lot of levers we can pull, and so I just wanted to name a few of those levers real quick, if we can, before we get into dual practices again. This is all research based. Right? There are six levers you have within the workplace to support well being or get out of Burnout. The first is workload. That’s the one everybody thinks about. And essentially it just means that if this is a mismatch, it means you have an inhuman amount of work to do in your role. One of the most sneaky levers that most people don’t think about is control. We all need to have a sense of control over our destiny and our environment. And this can be as simple as how we get our job done. Do I have flexibility in where I’m located to do my job? Do I have flexibility in how I spend my time day to day? I have the flexibility as a working mom to go enjoy my kids when I come home from school and then I can come back and do my stuff. Right. So that gives me a sense of autonomy and control, and that’s vital for flourishing. The third is reward, and it’s not just financial. It can also be social, reward, feel seen and appreciated and acknowledged by the people that you’re around. The fourth is community. We’ve talked about this around connection and feeling like you have positive relationships in work that you can actually lean on. Right. We all go through difficulty. We need to have environments around us where we can really be our full self and let people know I need help right now. I need support. And they are there to hold you. Fairness, equity. Right. We need to see that decisions are made equitably that resources are distributed, equitably. If fairness is out, it’s not a sustainable environment for us. And then the most important one to me is values. So that’s the 6th, which is something that you just said, right? Like kind of acknowledging those of us that feel like we’re fish out of water, doing work around what you deeply value and care about and then finding environments that share those values is absolutely critical for sustained wholeness. We all know what it feels like to be in a mismatched environment where people are saying, oh, yeah, sure, we care about people and yet they’re making decisions where you go, oh, my God, that feels out of integrity for me. And that is a tremendous source of burnout, actually.
Dr. Caneel Joyce [00:20:05]:
So Aaron just walked us through the ultimate guide to burnout. We discussed the causes of burnout, its symptoms, and six levers that you can pull to try to alleviate and reduce burnout in the workplace. In part two of this episode, we are going to get into how the Enneagram is related to burnout. Aaron is going to walk us through the nine points of the Enneagram and shine some light on how and why your type tends to burn out. After that, she’s going to walk me through a boundary setting exercise based on my enneagram type, which she developed for her incredible new product, the Enneagram Burnout Deck. I’ll see you there.