Ep #1: How to Go Beyond the Burn Out: Part 1
In this episode of The Integrative Entrepreneur Podcast, Dr. Nicole & Dr. Nick discuss the dreaded burn out… a symptom of nonstop hard work that we’re all too familiar with. They chat through their own personal experience with burn out and provide actionable tips to implement into your day to avoid it!
"It really took about 20 times burning out to hit my ultimate ultimate low before I really had enough fire to make a change." - Dr. Nicole Rivera
Noteworthy Time Stamps:
0:51 Dr Nicole’s personal experience with burnout
3:29 How to go from the emotional limbic brain to the executive brain to make conscious decisions
4:32 The importance of thinking time
8:50 Determining the structure of your day
9:46 High productive actions vs. Low productive actions
10:54 The BIGGEST player when combating burnout
13:40 How to set structure… but not go too far
17:22 Inspire, fulfill, empower: how to reclaim these words
18:00 ROI: multitasking
23:27 Why resentment or pushback happens
25:30 Intermittent fasting vs. breakfast
LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE
This is the Integrative Entrepreneur Podcast where it’s not what you do, but how you do it. This is a podcast for entrepreneurs brought to you by entrepreneurs. We have been building a multimillion dollar healthcare business for over 10 years, and we have weaved together some of the best information for the people that are doing the best work in the business. This includes Dr. Demartini, who is a master in human behavior, to Verne Harnish, who has created the methodology of scaling up that has scaled many, many of the best businesses that we all know of. We want you to not only have a business that you love, but also a life that you love.
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the Integrative Entrepreneur Podcast. So we are evolving entrepreneurship through an integrative lens. Today, we are talking all about burnout. We’ve actually recently done a survey on different topics that people were looking for to learn more about, but secondary to that was what was the biggest struggle for most of the entrepreneurs out there, and burnout was number one. We can speak.
We can speak from experience. We’ve hit burnout many, many times. But I do think that it really took, for myself at least, about 20 times of burning out to hit my ultimate, ultimate low before I really had enough fire to make a change.
I mean, when we look at human behavior, we have to hit those thresholds of pain in order to make a change. So I would say it’s a lot more intelligent to learn from the masters and our teachers standing on the shoulders of giants to be able to use all of the pain things that not only we’ve done, but our mentors have gone through so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes.
I think that a key thing to take away as we start to dive into this topic is that no one else is in control of your schedule other than you.
Yeah. You said the big thing right there is choice. Sometimes we feel like we’re trapped and that’s the worst place to be because anytime that our back’s against the wall and we feel trapped, and at the same time we’re fatigued and tired, we never make intelligent decisions. We’re always making reactive decisions, focusing on problems, not solutions. It’s just a waterfall effect in the wrong direction.
It’s interesting because one of our coaches at one of the last seminars that we were at, someone was asking a question in relation to noticing that you’re fatiguing out, you’re getting burnt out, but you know that you have to get to the end of a specific project. What is the advice? Do you just power through and keep going? Or do you give yourself the time and space? I just remember the analogy was just so interesting. It’s like you’re running out of gas, but you still have another 50 miles to go, and you’re just like, “No, I’ll just drive as fast as possible in order to get to the destination,” when that’s not even logical to any capacity, because you’re still going to run out of fuel. It’s such a simple concept, but we don’t apply it to ourselves.
We’re just like, “Okay, well, I’ll just run myself into the ground, potentially extend the project out because I’m not as productive, I’m not thinking as straight,” and then come out with a mediocre result just for the sake of saying, “I need to meet this deadline,” opposed to take the break, take a step back, refuel, and then step into it with more clarity and even more motivation to get it done, but get it done right.
Yeah. 100% on that is that’s jumping back to those emotional decisions is that when we’re emotional, we think that we just have to push through things which isn’t intelligent at all. So it’s about setting up quality questions that we can go from that emotional limbic brain to the executive center of the brain, where we can actually make conscious decisions to really serve us. We all know that whether you take a half day off to be able to go out, whatever your hobby is, it’s going to recharge you, you have to do those things. Get out in the sunshine, go for a walk with your dog, your pet, breathe in that sunshine and that fresh air. That’s going to recharge you both internally through your soul, but also just all the biochemical changes through serving yourself and be able to reenergize.
Well, it’s interesting because I know that some people that are listening to this are just like, “Yeah, that sounds wonderful. Great luxury.” I remember specifically coming across the book Think and Grow Rich, and obviously, the big focus is about thinking. Then it also was followed up with the book by Keith Cunningham, Road Less Stupid, where he is a huge advocate for thinking time. I just remember reading about this and almost being frustrated of like, “Wow, that must be nice. These people have the ability to just sit around and think and come up with these great ideas and be creative, but I’m working in my business more than I’m actually working on my business.”
It took time for me to think logically and get out of that emotional limbic center, like you mentioned, and really be able to say, “Wow, I’m going to stop acting like I know better and I’m actually going to listen to the advice of these individuals that have really attained the success that I’m looking for.” It really takes a huge leap to make that choice. I think that’s really what it is. It’s a choice.
You could say it’s a huge leap, but it’s really just setting boundaries. Without having boundaries, we don’t have a limit of what we’re going to put up and deal with. So it’s really about setting those boundaries, and then from those boundaries, it’s like how are you going to structure your day to serve you. One of the best things that we’ve done is walks together. So we go on, like Dr. Nicole and I, were in business together. So it’s easy for us to be able to plan our day together. We literally do everything together. But we’ve found that through walking, being outside in the fresh air allows us to have a bigger vision, to not be shut down in a closed space, and we have really high amounts of clarity as well as vision combined together. So we have amazing ideas to be able to serve whatever “solution” that we’re really working on.
Well, I think that’s an important thing for people to take away is that your effectiveness can be dictated by your environment. When you and I were trying to sit down and have “business meetings”, it was usually ending up with frustration and zero positive results.
We were still winners. We did that for like three years.
Yeah. Then we just realized that it wasn’t the right dynamic. So don’t beat yourself up, I think, is the key thing to take away is that if you are struggling with having quality communication with your business partner, as well as with your team, it might be a very simple hack of changing the environment or you being able to set some time in order to get your mind clear, jot it all down, send it to them prior to showing up for the meeting, and or even having the meeting in a very specific environment so that you feel that everyone is feeling good, thriving, et cetera. So these things are really important, but I want to dig a bit deeper on this topic because I think that there is a lot of things that once they were put on our radar, we were just kind of like, “Oh crap.”
Really, first and foremost is that we also have a choice on what we give our energy to. One of the terms that I love is non-revenue generating activities. So non-RGAs. When one of our coaches was talking about what these were, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I used to do every single one of those things every day.” Really what we’re talking about with these non-RGAs is waking up, and the first thing that you do is you grab your phone, you look at your social media, you tap into your business email, you see that there’s a disgruntled client that totally throws off your energy. Now, you just spent the next hour trying to troubleshoot it.
It spirals from there. You get in the car, you’re out of gas. Now, you’re late to work. Now, your whole day is thrown off. It’s just a compounding effect. You’re also setting the pace for you to have a chaotic energy for the rest of your entire day. So you really have to take a step back and start thinking about what is the structure of your day, and do you have boundaries? Are you giving your cell phone number to clients? Are you accessible to everyone because you think that you have to go above and beyond, and now you’re being taken advantage of and now you’re getting resentful?
These are all things I think that we do, especially when there’s other layers of limiting beliefs in there is you have a new coach that they tell you, “Hey, you should be charging this. Or this is the industry standard,” but you don’t feel that worth. So now you’re like, “Okay, well I’ll change my prices.” But then on the backend, what you’re not telling your coach is that you are now feeling an obligation to go above and beyond and do things that are potentially going to get you in a pickle later down the line.
Oh, 100%. When we go back and we structure those boundaries and to structure our day, it’s really about looking at high productive actions versus low productive actions. Like you said, when you wake up and the first thing you do is you check the email and you go through and you’re searching for problems pretty much. Low productive actions like that are going to drain us. They’re energy wasters. At the same time, they’re not producing any revenue, like you said. Where at the opposite side of things, we could literally structure our day to win the morning the night before. So that’s what I found. The only way to actually win the day is to win the morning, and the only way to truly win the morning is to structure it the night before.
So every night before, one of the amazing things we can do is to figure out what’s going to be the most revenue generating activity that we can do that following day that’s congruent to your highest values. So there you have a win-win situation. You have what’s going to give you the biggest return, not only in your time, your energy, but also money, but you’re also going to be feeling yourself up with energy, because it’s also the most valuable thing that you could be doing to fill yourself up. That I find is going to be the biggest player to be able to combat what we know as burnout.
100%. You have to get yourself to a place that you’re comfortable with the idea that your life becomes very disciplined and regimented. I fought this tooth and nail for years. I remember, all different types of people, entrepreneurs, coaches, et cetera, talking about block scheduling and you have to schedule your vacations, you have to schedule your workouts and you have to schedule, schedule, schedule. I fought it. I was like, “That’s such an odd way to live. I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to have to feel obligated to do this, that, the other thing.” Again, I’m a slow learner. I also liked to, I guess, experience the pain so I can learn the lesson.
But I just remember years went by and it was the same excuses as to why we haven’t taken a vacation, as to why we are working more and more hours, as to why I’m still only working out once a month or I’m living and breathing integrative healthcare, but I’m not really on a regimen or I’m not really doing the infrared sauna. It’s because low priority things fill up your schedule when you are not disciplined and have those boundaries. I am 100% dedicated at noon that I am going to have lunch and actually sit down and have lunch and maybe have a conversation with an employee or one of my coworkers, if you’re not that disciplined to say, “That is what’s going to happen,” guess what, you’re going to work through lunch and you’re going to have to be putting out fires and you’re going to deal with a client who’s disgruntled, or you’re going to deal with an employee that’s disgruntled. Unfortunately, it’s the harsh and true reality.
Yeah. About structuring day, you have to figure out what’s going to serve you. When I first started in the block scheduling, I was a little neurotic and I had everything down to the minute exactly like when I was doing a workout, I was doing this type of workout and that did not work for me. I fought it tooth and nail. Because there wasn’t any creativity, there wasn’t any choice in it. I felt like I was still trapped, which I was trapped doing the exact opposite of not having any schedule. So for me personally, block scheduling works great, but I leave it open. So it’s like I have a time that I go through and I do learning, but that learning is just a block period that’s open to how I want to learn. That could be reading. That could be going through journals. That could be research. That could be so many different aspects of how to learn.
Depending on how I feel that day, I have a choice to decide what type of learning is actually going to fill me up. You could do that for exercise. You could just have it, boom, exercise. If you want to run, awesome. If you want to do HIIT training, awesome. If you want to jump on the Peloton, awesome. Leave it up for you to be able to best serve you in that moment, because honestly, we’re different in every single moment. So to be able to say, what’s going to best serve you a week from now, a month now, it’s just craziness. So we need to have those boundaries. We need to have the systems in place to be able to serve us, but not so overdrawn that we take choice away from ourselves.
I 100% agree. I think that what you said is really key and it’s really the foundation of our belief system is that it’s personalized. Things need to be personalized because I know that there’s this “regimen” that where we feel that we all need to fulfill and to be a healthy, good entrepreneur is you have to work out or you have to meditate or you have to do certain things. You have to read a book a week. I think it’s giving yourself the freedom to say, “This block schedule is growth, self-growth or self-development.” Maybe that self-growth one week is a really awesome workout. Maybe another week, it’s a book. Maybe another week, it’s a podcast or a webinar that you are listening to. It really is what’s going to inspire you the most, and what is your idea of personal development and personal growth.
Some people, it’s doing things to physically enhance their performance, and then there’s other people that it’s more mental, emotional. I joke all the time is I live and breathe integrative medicine. I can’t meditate. My meditation is a boxing class. I don’t care what you have to say about it, Dr. Nick. But it’s like that traditional meditation of sit there, quiet, legs crossed or whatever it is, it doesn’t work for me. But there is a version of that when I’m in the infrared sauna. I get in the infrared sauna, I bring a notepad and a pen. I just give myself time to just clear the slate. If something pops in my head that I want to write down, great. If nothing pops in my head, great. It’s just about giving myself that space. But I couldn’t do that for years because nothing was that relaxing to me. Nothing gave me that type of time and space to truly feel that I can clear my mind.
Once I was introduced to the infrared sauna, I was like, “Wow, this is my space. I feel good in here. I don’t know what it is, but I get super clear. I get some of my best ideas.” So you guys have to explore what that is for you and just know that it can look different week to week, but dedicating your time to what is going to allow you to feel fulfilled and allow you to feel empowered that you are truly growing and scaling yourself, which then helps you to grow and scale your business.
You said some amazing words there, such as inspired, fulfilled, empowered. All those things are very, very important as an entrepreneur to be able to hold that energy, hold that resonance. One of the things that leads to this burnout as an entrepreneur is we have so many things that we’re juggling all the time. So we can use the act of compounding to be able to serve us. So like you said, you have “meditation”, you version of it, quiet time, but you’re also in the infrared sauna where you’re detoxing. So you’re “killing” multiple-
Hey, I’m multitasking.
Exactly. That’s what we need to do as entrepreneurs, because we need to literally… This has been a whole kick so far going into 2021. It’s all about investing in yourself. How can you expend the least amount of energy going out that have the biggest amount of return coming back at you? So it’s like if you’re in the sauna and you’re detoxing, plus you’re journaling, you’re writing, your version of meditation, it’s like you’re not putting that much energy out, but you’re getting such a huge return. It’s like we set up our Peloton. Or we have a red infrared light behind it. So we’re getting light therapy while we’re getting our cardio therapy on. So it’s about trying to compound as much as you can that’s still going to be inspiring and not a task to you.
Well, I just love what you said. I really want to wrap it up with a couple of tips and inspiration because sometimes when you are really in it, you’re maybe a year into your business. We get it. You are probably running yourself ragged. You have a lot on your plate. You’re just trying to make it. It’s very hard to wrap your head around this idea of block scheduling to preserve yourself, et cetera, but start somewhere. I think is rule number one is don’t think that you have to do it all at once and you don’t have to do what we do, but we just hope that some of the things that we have found effective can inspire you. Also, speaking on behalf of friends that are entrepreneurs that have also found things that really work for them.
But for myself, I definitely found that waking up and grabbing my cellphone and diving into social media or looking at business emails was a complete wrecking ball to my day. That might not be the case for many other people, but I will say, if you are more of an emotional person, then it probably is a wrecking ball to your day if you’re willing to admit it or not. I found that number one is keeping my cellphone out of the bedroom, number one, is really beneficial for even my sleep. That is because of the amount of radiation that is coming off of most of the devices in our home. So from the integrative medicine side is just understanding that these things that other coaches, they’re not talking about it because it’s not their background.
But if you are the person that you have your home office and you have three monitors and two routers and everything is Bluetooth, and that room is right next to your bedroom, you really need to consider how are you going to shut down some of those devices to decrease the amount of radiation that is circulating through the house so that you’re actually getting rested sleep so that you are waking up refreshed. What are you going to do in the morning? What are you either going to not do in the morning to preserve yourself? Or what are you going to do in the morning that’s going to set your day off right? For me, it’s not every day, but I’m a morning person when it comes to working out. So like Dr. Nick said, I hop on the Peloton, and because we’re always trying to maximize time and efficiency is we have a infrared red light behind our Peloton, and that’s giving me a detox benefit as well as a cardiovascular benefit.
That helps me clear my mind, and now I’m ready to go for my day. I will tell you, and I’m not exaggerating, is when you’re able to do whatever it is for you in the morning that gets you super crystal clear, you are so much more productive in a shorter amount of time so that you’re not like, “Oh, well, I got to work through lunch,” or, “Oh, I didn’t get this done,” or, “Oh, I couldn’t do that.” So you have to think about maximizing your morning. I’ll let Dr. Nick kind of speak on behalf of some of the things that he feels works for him because he’s not a morning person.
I’m not. I’m more of a night person than a morning person. We balance each other out that way. One of the things, I mean, overall, my favorite thing to do is comes back to this slogan that you always say it’s not what you do, but how you do it. So when you take that deeper, it’s if we’re doing things that’s not productive, that’s low on our value system, we need external motivation for that. We need extra motivation because it’s draining our life. It’s drain our energy. So when we start our morning, it’s about structuring wins. How can we start the morning by winning? Once we start winning, we can let that compound. The better it gets, the better it gets. So as in anything you do, it’s not what you do, but how you do it. So what’s your intention? What’s your why? It’s always coming back to your why and your why is geared to serve yourself. You are the most important person in your life and your business. Without you, there is no business so-
You can’t serve anyone else if you’re not serving yourself. You can lie to yourself because I did for years, but I promise you, if you don’t serve yourself, you can not serve other people.
I mean, it’s about if you’re jumping on the Peloton, why are you jumping on the Peloton? Getting crystal clear before you do everything to know exactly why you’re doing it and how it’s going to fill you up, that will make everything you do easier. There’s no resistance. There’s no pushback when you’re doing something, even if it’s painful that you know that it’s actually serving you. It’s the opposite when you go into and you go into doing something and you already have resentment for it. That’s going to create a lot of pushback, a lot of pain. So it’s not what you do, but how you do it is literally the most important. Then really the second thing for me is that block scheduling. That was huge for me.
Yeah. I think that what you just said is really important too, is you have to serve your highest values and some of you might not be super clear on what your values are. This is something that we take people through as really step number one when you’re working through the Integrative Growth Institute, because your personal values dictate your values of your company, which then dictates your company culture and dictates so many other things beyond that. Really, if you’re not clear on that, it’s very hard to grow and scale, but grow and scale and also maintain happiness in your own personal life. There’s a lot of people that are killing themselves to grow this massive business, but they’re sacrificing everything in their personal lives. That is a huge, huge mission and passion for us is that we gave up our lives for many years.
We didn’t want to give up our business to get our lives back. We were just like, “There has to be a way to bring the two together.” There are a lot of versions of what fills people up. If you’re the person that you wake up in the morning, you’re like, “I don’t want to work out, but everybody says I should because it’s healthy.” Just understand, there’s an equal and opposite version of that. So being healthy is also maybe making herself a really bomb ass breakfast. It doesn’t have to be what the textbook is. So you have to make sure that you are understanding that and you don’t have to conform to what everyone tells you is what you’re supposed to do essentially.
I would say the last thing, for me, kind of throwing [inaudible 00:25:47] is understanding the science of the human body and to be able to maximize just the energy and the efficiency so that we can have that output of energy to serve the business, to serve our employees, and to serve our customers. The simplest easiest thing is with that morning routine, you have to eat breakfast. There’s this whole thing on fasting, on intermittent fasting. It’s easy just to like, “I’m going to wake up. I’m not going to eat because it’s part of intermittent fasting,” which is actually the worst meal to skip if you are intermittent fasting because breakfast is what jump-starts your day. It literally stabilizes your blood sugar. I’m not talking about a breakfast with a coffee and more carbs and more carbs and more carbs. I’m talking about having some good quality, protein and fat to be able to help stabilize that blood sugar and let you start the day really through feeding your brain and your nervous system.
Yeah. The last thing that I want to close on is just getting super clear on what the vision is, because if you’re clear on the vision, you know what to say yes to and you know what to say no to. It’s not about taking every opportunity or things that might not be the best fit. It’s about focusing on the opportunities that are going to be one step further to the bigger vision. If you have the ability to say yes to the things that matter, that is going to help you grow and scale tremendously in a shorter amount of time. So these are all some really key things to really prevent, but also deal with burnout. So there’s going to be a part two to this because there’s a whole other part of this that we did not get into, which has to do with the dreaded little word of delegation. So we’re going to be diving into why you are probably not delegating and why you have your hand in every department of your business, and the reason why that is limiting you from growing and scaling.
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