Firstly, thank you to those of you who reached out after reading last week’s rant alert post — it seemed to strike a chord and I’m really happy about that. It means we have an amazing community of leaders who care about beating burnout.
This week we move to the next letter of our “Beat Burnout PACED” model which is all about abundance.
Abundance has been identified as one of the 5 factors which help prevent burnout and therefore the $160+ Bn loss incurred each year through lost productivity and healthcare costs.
As our team has been spending more time working on burnout research, abundance keeps cropping up in various forms as one of the big factors which can help prevent burnout from occurring.
For the more logical or rational amongst you, abundance might be an interesting new topic to explore because when I “got it”, I really started to notice the results it was having on my life. Saying that it initially took me a moment to get my head around.
What is abundance?
In order to understand the concept of abundance, it can sometimes be easier to start with the opposite of abundance which is scarcity. Many of us are in a scarcity mindset without even realizing it. We are self and image-protective, risk-averse, controlling, and worried about what others will think of us. That reflects in the way we lead our teams and also in the amount of emotional stress we carry.
Think about the number of hours you spend worrying about things, the sleepless nights, and the concern about what people think. This worry takes away from the total horsepower you have at your disposal and contributes to burnout.
The opposite of that is being liberated, curious, and excited to help others feel and achieve their best. Imagine the type of leader you could be if you were all of these things. Note it isn’t a physical mirror image, it’s more like an energetic polar opposite. This is abundance.
Abundance isn’t painting on a smile and being happy-clappy. It’s more about an energetic shift. The way I like to think about abundance is by identifying if you’re adding or subtracting energy from your surroundings. People in a scarcity mindset take energy away — like an energy vacuum.
People with an abundant mindset add energy. If our energy scenario were like a fire, scarcity-led people take wood out of the fire to keep themselves warm and pretty quickly the fire burns out. Abundant people add wood and fan the flames at the right moments so the fire can burn longer and brighter.
Still too meta?
Let’s take a simple example of abundance in a practical context. Pretend you are at a conference and attending a networking session. When you walk into the room, are you inwardly focused and battling an inner monologue?
“I hope they like me, everyone else seems so much more confident”.
This is scarcity at work.
Alternatively, do you walk in and actively seek out a nervous-looking person and introduce yourself before you start making conversation and putting them at ease? Maybe you focus on connecting groups with like-minded others because you can network well. This is the abundance approach.
As a self-confessed introvert, being abundant in situations like networking is especially hard but I promise, it’s paid off as instead of thinking about how nervous I am, I look for a person who looks nervous and help them to feel more comfortable — which also has the benefit of creating a connection but also seems to create a ripple across the room in terms of positive energy.
So, how can you be a more abundant leader and start to reduce your own burnout levels and that of those around you?
There are heaps of ways — including the bonus tip for networking events above. I’ve chosen 5 easy things you can try today right below”
1) Be more grateful
When you wake up in the morning, think of three things that make your life amazing — no matter how small. Science shows that gratitude can have a calming effect on the storm of emotions and stressors we experience on a daily basis by moving your thoughts from the emotional to rational part of your brain. Repeatedly doing this on a daily basis creates new neural paths of positivity and gratitude.
2) Notice the good stuff
When you are at work, we normally point out the mistakes, gaps and errors in our team’s work. Instead, deliberately notice and comment on something they did right. Especially if it lines up with your team’s purpose or goals it might seem obvious to you but when they notice you notice, it makes them swell with pride.
By doing this, you encourage more of this behaviour and you give your team more confidence to act. This frees up time and energy as they gain confidence and experience to allow you to be less in the weeds and doing more strategic, important things.
3) Invite more ideas from your team
Scarcity-driven leaders tend to believe that they are the only ones who can come up with good ideas and solve all the issues. Abundant leaders realise that by opening up to input and ideas from others, they are actually widening the pool of possible options but that they are also creating a positive environment where people offer more ideas more often.
4) Trust more than you might think
Abundant leaders consciously build trust with their teams by deliberately showing trust. They move from head to heart-based trust actions — talking about mistakes, offering to do favours and going with their gut. Just like a Mexican standoff where someone needs to lower their weapon first, abundant leaders deepen the level of trust because they go first in cultivating it. You will be surprised at what happens when you try.
5) Help that fire burn brighter
In every situation, imagine it like a fire that is burning wood (energy) and try to identify what is going to help the fire burn brighter and longer. What is the action, the words, the example you can set that will light up the room and help everyone feel warmth and safety in the situation? Abundance summary — shift your energy:
Helping teams to create more trust, connection, and resultant performance is something we talk a lot about in WoW but it’s completely blocked when the members of that team are burned out. Therefore we can all work together to beat burnout and lift performance as a result through some simple actions. Tune in next time to hear what the C in PACED stands for — it’s a game-changer.
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