Ep #27: Female Entrepreneurial Burnout
If you feel exhausted and impatient, you could be experiencing female entrepreneurial burnout. You may be surprised to learn that this type of business burnout is not because of your business – it comes from your brain. Here are 5 things that are likely to cause burnout in female entrepreneurs.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- Entrepreneurial burnout comes from your brain, and your body follows your brain. What are you indulging in your mind?
- Another cause of burnout is lack of decision making. Kris’ coach used to say, “Do it. Dump it. Delegate it.” Right now.
- Burnout comes from overworking in unproductive effort.
- Your lack of boundaries is also another cause of burnout. You’re too available.
- Another, you’re buffering. Female entrepreneurs use their businesses to avoid feeling things.
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
- Watch Bob Newhart’s “Stop It” video.
- If you’d like to work with me, visit my appointment page and we’ll either schedule an appointment or I’ll direct you to a resource that can help you with what you’re looking for.
- Please write a review of my podcast. Go to iTunes’ main page and give it a 5-star if you feel it is worthy and write a review. Do a screen shot and go to Instagram and put that on your story or feed and tag me @KrisPlachyCoach. I will then send you a list of all of my most favorite books that I’ve read over the years.
- Reach out to me by emailing me at email@example.com.
- If you haven’t yet, join my email subscribers list, and stay up to date on what’s working for female entrepreneurs today.
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Hey everyone. I’m Kris Plachy, and this is How to Lead for Female Entrepreneurs and Founders. Because the best way to grow a business is to grow the person who’s running it. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hey there. How are you, gorgeous? Welcome. I’m so glad you’re here. Today we’re going to talk about burnout, entrepreneurial burnout, and especially female entrepreneurial burnout because it’s so common. And I really want to talk about why it’s so common, and then give you some ideas on what you can do for yourself. Because if you’re anything like any of us, you have. If you’re not feeling burnt out right now, you have. And I want to help you avoid it, and then also kind of work yourself through it, if you are really sort of at that point of just total exhaustion and kind of hate everybody, which is … It just is normal. Like, “Welcome. Welcome to being an entrepreneur.”
I hope you’re so happy with me that my sound is better. Oh my goodness. My last interview with Eleanor was so amazing, and I just love her to pieces. And I was so mad at myself. My stupid mic was broken. She sounded amazing, which frankly is the most important thing to me. But my gosh, I’m so mad at myself. My sound was icky. So, I hope you hung in there with me to listen to the gems that were on that podcast because, you know, technology happens. You’re welcome for that fabulous listening experience. And thank you to Sharon, who is always my fabulous podcast producer. Sharon does her magic with what I give her. And hopefully, Sharon, you’re happy with me now. This is much better. I tested it like four times to make sure my new mic is working well.
The other thing I wanted to talk to you all about before I get into the content is I love hearing from you. I’m an extrovert, if you haven’t figured that out. So, even while I’m sitting in here, in my office all alone, I’m just pretending that you’re on the other side of the desk with me. I have some coffee. Do you have your coffee? You might be in your car, or maybe you’re walking through the streets of London. I like to fantasize about where you are when you’re listening to me. Or you could be just driving down some freeway in the middle of the US, I have no idea, but … Hi. We’re having a chat, but I really like to hear back from you, right? The thing about a podcast is it’s a pretty one-sided relationship. I want to know you, so I’m going to give you an invitation. I’m going to invite you to write a review for my podcast. I know, right? how lovely of me to invite you to do that.
If you’ve never written a podcast review, it can be a little intimidating just to figure it out. But if you’re on your app, and you’re in iTunes on your app looking at this podcast, if you go to the main page of the podcast and you scroll down, you’ll see a little thing where there’s a bunch of stars. If you feel like this is a five star podcast, give it the five stars. And then there’s a little link there that says write a review, so click on that. Then write your words. And then do a screenshot. And then do me a favor, come on over to Instagram and put that screenshot of your review on your story or in your feed, and make sure you tag me. I’m @KrisPlachyCoach. You have to follow me first in order to tag me, but then you can go to @KrisPlachyCoach. It’s a lot of directions. Let’s see if you can do it.
If you do that and then I see you … I’m so excited … then I’ll know who you are. And B, I will send you all of my most favoritest books that I’ve read over the years that I believe have really culminated the way that I think about what I do, whether it’s as a woman, as a human, as a mother, and also as a woman who runs her own business and a coach. So, I have compiled a list. It’s not … I think it’s about, almost 20 books. And it’s so interesting. I was putting the list together, just sitting on my iPhone, writing them all out on my notes as I was on a walk. And then I came home and looked at my bookshelf. Sure enough, I cleared all my books out about two months ago, but I kept all of the ones I love, and there they all are. So, really, these are ones that really stick in my brain as having had an impact at different times in my life. So, some of them you’ll find were written a while ago. And some, I think a couple are pretty new.
So, these have been my teachers. And I believe as a leader, you have to always be cultivating your brain and really allowing your mind to chew on new insights and new thoughts. Not only do I think it’s part of your own growth and fun and good for you, I do think it’s a responsibility as a leader to be outside of yourself enough to learn and grow and get new ideas and bring something back to the business and to the team.
So, go to iTunes, scroll down, hit five stars, post a review, take a screenshot, go to Instagram, follow KrisPlachyCoach, and then tag me in a story with a screenshot, and I will send you the book list, right? I will DM it to you. Okay?
So, I’m super excited. I’d love more opportunity to connect with each one of you, so I’m really hoping you will do that. Take a little time. It’ll probably take you about four minutes. So, I know you’re busy, so appreciate you thinking of me when you’re not in your car driving. Please don’t do it now, while you’re driving.
Okay, let’s talk about burnout. So, part of the process of working with me is I invite you to schedule an appointment. It’s a 20 minute consult. And then, as a part of that, you have to fill out an application because I do work with a very select profile of female entrepreneur in my program. So, one of the benefits as well of that process is I’m learning so much about each one of you, even if you’re not … you don’t end up hiring me, I learned a tremendous amount about you and the challenges that you’re facing through that process. And burnout is obviously a really big problem. And I think I’ve told you this a few times. So many of the women when I meet them are at that crossroads. It’s like a point where there’s three options, and it seems to be the only three that my clients see. And one is to get the heck out, right?
The you get to a point when you are hiring people in your business, and the people part just isn’t … It’s not moving. And it’s so frustrating as an entrepreneur because you have so much you want to do, and you know you can’t do it yourself, and yet you’ve got … And you’ve got to get it done through these people, but they’re not helping. It’s exhausting! Maybe I’m speaking from experience, right? So the considerations are, “I’m just going to get out. I’m going to close this thing down. I’ll sell it for parts. I’m out.” Right? The other one is literally to find somebody to buy, so you start entertaining notions of selling your company. Right?
Of course … I just want to give you a little caveat. If you can’t manage this thing, and the people aren’t delivering results, it’s kind of hard to sell without you there because that means it’s still really relying on you, or you want someone else to run it for you. You’re on the hunt for that perfect CEO, general manager person, just someone else is going to run it that’s not going to be me because I’m going to be over here drinking margaritas in Hawaii. Right? Not so much. Okay?
So, that is really where I meet a lot of my clients, and there’s this common belief that there’s just nothing else that can be done, and so believing that is just perpetuating your misery. So, where does this burnout come from? It comes from … First of all, we have to recognize that our body follows our brain. So, if you are literally feeling tired, exhausted, lethargic, if your body hurts, if you have ailments, if you are sensitive and impatient, you also might be perimenopausal. Most of my clients are in a certain age window. Not all, but there’s a lot of us. But you’re also likely experiencing the symptoms of burnout. But the reason that that’s happening is not because of your business. Okay? This is so important for all of us to remember. We want the problem to be our business. “It’s our business. It’s our team. It’s our client. It’s the amount of revenue we have. It’s the amount of revenue we don’t have. It’s the issues with our technology.” And we blame how we feel, this exhaustion, burnout, want to run away from it all, on that thing, the business. But burnout comes from your brain.
The symptoms in your body, the symptoms in your life are coming from your brain, not the business. Okay? And if that’s the first time you’ve heard something like that, I know you’re in your car arguing with me. If you are arguing with me on the subway, people will think you’re crazy. Although, maybe that’s an uncommon. I know you want to argue with me. I know you want it to be the thing. So, as soon as you get the new employees, as soon as you get them on track, as soon as you get more revenue, you won’t feel burnt out. No! Lie. It’s a lie that you are believing, and it is perpetuating your burnout, so we have to stop that immediately for your own sake. Okay?
So, this is why I find that so many of my clients … Right? I transitioned, and I work with small groups of female entrepreneurs, and there’s a very strategic reason for that. And the strategic reason for that is I was finding all of my clients are sort of in this spot. And when we do one on one coaching, they show up to the one on one call, and they just kind of show up and throw up. And they want to nurture their reasons for why things aren’t working. And they want to nurture their reasons for burnout. And then what? It’s miraculous. When I put people in a room together and there’s five of you talking, guess what happens? Now what happens is you see, “Oh, that’s interesting she thinks that.” “Oh, I’m curious about why she thinks that.” “Oh, she thinks the same way I do.” And you start to realize this isn’t just a you thing. This is a thing that a lot of entrepreneurs go through. You are not alone. You are not the super special snowflake.
Burnout is very common, but it’s not common because of the business. It’s common because of the thoughts that entrepreneurs have about their business. So, I’d love to get you in a little, quiet room together where we can realize like, “Oh, I see this in someone else,” versus just coming up into an environment where you just nurture it. And so what happens though for a lot of female entrepreneurs is they go and they participate in a lot of other groups. They go meet with a lot of other female entrepreneurs. And all y’all do is validate how legitimate your burnout is. “Oh, me too.” Right? You guys know what I’m talking about. That is not what I do. It’s a different environment when you work with me. We don’t indulge that. There is nothing valuable about it, ever. There is nothing valuable about indulging the reasons why you don’t like your business. You can’t get it figured out. “It’s too hard.” All that is doing is perpetuating your exhaustion and your burnout. Trust me, we got to nip that in the bud first.
So, if that’s where you are and you’ve been there for awhile, I also know you need help with that. You’ve got to stay away from the other people who agree with you, even your family members. People think they’re helping you, right? when they say, “Oh, that must be very hard. Oh, I can see how difficult that is for you.” Right? “Oh, you’re so brave to work with this with your own business.” Right? I’m being a little dramatic, but you know what I’m talking about.
So, A, your body follows your brain. What are you indulging in your mind? What do you spin on? And stop it immediately. If you’ve never watched it … Some of you will not know who Bob Newhart is. I, of course, love Bob Newhart. But if you just Google “Bob Newhart stop it video,” it was made several years ago, it’s hysterical. And ever since I’ve seen it … I think I’ve watched it 45 times. I just always have his voice in my head. “Stop it!” You’ll know what I’m talking about if you go watch the video. It’s nine minutes or so, and it’s worth every minute of your time. I strongly recommend it.
Okay. Other causes of burnout: lack of decisions. You have too many decisions left unmade. Look at your desk right now. Look at your car right now. Look at your home right now. Everything that’s just sitting somewhere that doesn’t have a place is a decision that wasn’t made. Where does it go? Right? I used to have a coach that I worked with. She’s one of my mentors. She’s amazing. Her name is Vicki Merrill. And she had a thing that she taught all of us. This was years ago, like 2003, “Do it. Dump it. Delegate it.” Right? I’m either going to handle it right now. I’m going to dump it, and put it in the trash, or I’m going to give it to somebody else right now.
So, just look around. Like I can tell you right now, I’m looking at my desk, and I can see … Oh look, there’s a pair of earrings I took off yesterday that I didn’t put away. And there’s a couple of markers that I used on a flip chart that I didn’t put back in the flip chart drawer. Right? I can see it. Those are decisions that were not made. And when I look at them, it adds to my burnout. It’s a fatigue thing. It creates fatigue. So, I want you today to make a list of all the decisions you have not made, and we’re going to get those made by the end of this week. Mark it on your calendar. All of this will be decided. I don’t care if it’s whether or not you should invest five million dollars in a new facility, or create a partnership with another person, or get married, or get divorced, or take that trip, or not. You need to make these decisions, sister. Stop it. Nurturing lack of deciding or confusion is exhausting because your brain is just on constant spiral, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. It doesn’t resolve, and then we carry it with us. You with me? I know you are. I know. You know what I’m talking about.
Okay. You’re overworking an unproductive effort. So, one of the women in my group just asked me this. “I don’t understand what’s happening. I go in. I have all these things I know I need to get done. And then I get to the office, and I do all this other stuff that’s not really stuff I could do. Other people could do all that stuff. And then I come back and it’s like, ‘Oh crap. All the stuff I needed to do isn’t done yet.’ And that’s the stuff I have to do.” How many of you are doing that? And then what you do is you get mad at the stuff that you did, or you get mad at the people. “I can’t believe I had to do this. I can’t believe I had to go work with customers. I should be doing this in the back.” Okay, but you made the choice to go do that.
So, you have to be really honest with yourself. Why are you doing that? And you’ve got to really get honest. Why are you reading your email instead of meeting with your team? Why are you fussing around on your website instead of calling new potential clients? Why? That resistance, it’s like a tension, right? I want you to think about that. It’s a tension, is causing you misery because you’re one half of your brain is like, “Don’t do that. You know you need to do this.” And the other half is like, “No, no, no, no, we’ve got to fix the website.” Why are you doing it? You have a reason. It’s not happening to you. And do not tell me … If I were going to talk to you right now and you tell me, “I don’t have anybody else.” No, that’s not true. What’s true is you haven’t invested the time to hire somebody else, and get them prepared, and ramp them up. Why? Don’t be surprised if your answer is something like, “It’s hard. I don’t know how. I’m not sure I’m doing it right.” Right? But that tension fosters your burnout. Stop it immediately.
I know that if you’re on the floor, burnt-out, I’m willing to bet you money, you don’t have a job description for yourself. What is your job? I’m willing to bet it doesn’t exist. Your job is whatever you feel like that day and whatever your area of expertise is. You don’t have direction. What are your goals? I can’t … I honestly am always, and yet I don’t know why, completely kerfuffled about how all of you who are running seven figure businesses. If I asked you what your goal is for the next month, you don’t know. What? How do you not know? How do you not have direction? How do you function if you don’t have a target? Right? Do you have a goal? Is it clear? And do you have a job to achieve that goal? You, not everybody else in your company, just you. When you don’t have that … It’s like a rudder.
And so that leads me to my next issue for burnout, is boundaries and lack of them. You’re overly available to everybody. Everybody has access to you. Everybody comes in and out of your office, literally or figuratively. If you have a physical building, there’s always people in there. “Hey, do you have a minute? Can I have a quick second?” You’re running meetings that don’t have agendas that aren’t clear. They’re too long. They’re indulgent. They’re not defined with an outcome. If you run a virtual business, you’ve got Slack and email and instant message and text, and everybody’s always on you.
This is a kind of strong podcast, isn’t it? I’m all lit up. Maybe it’s the coffee.
Stop it! Boundaries. What’s your schedule? When do people have access to you? What is your job? How do you create time for when you have to do what you have to do that’s going to contribute to the longterm production of the business? not the short term, “I got to get it done,” stuff. That’s the stuff we hire people for. Okay? I hope you hear me. Do you love me still? I’m getting a little tough with you. It’s the frank day. We’re going to have that.
And the last thing is buffering. This is going to be the one that you’re going to least want to hear, but I’m going to say it, y’all entrepreneur types. A lot of us entrepreneur types use our business to avoid feeling anything. You have trouble in your marriage? You start working. You work, work, work. Because if I’m too busy working, guess what I don’t have time to think about? You’re having challenges with your weight. You’re having challenges in a relationship with your kid. You have challenges with your relationship with your family member outside of your immediate family. You don’t want to feel something; you start working. Some people eat Oreos. Some people smoke cigarettes. Some people watch porn. Some people shop. Some people work.
But what’s funny about work is it’s so socially acceptable, right? “Oh, I’m so busy.” “Oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t have time to do that thing. I was just busy working.” “Oh, I’m so sorry, honey, I didn’t have time to go to dinner and have a date with you and have sex with you because I’m just so busy. I’m so distracted with work.” “Oh sorry, honey.” “Oh, child, I’m so sorry, honey, I don’t have time to come to your school thing. I’m just so busy.” No, you’re not. You’re choosing it, and you’re choosing that for a reason.
I say to my clients all the time, “You’ve got to be honest with yourself here.” Why? It doesn’t mean that your answer is shameful. That’s the problem, we don’t want to look at the answer. Maybe the answer is, “Yeah, I am so busy, and I do avoid all of the time with my husband because I’m not happy in my marriage. And I’m afraid to really notice that because I don’t want to not be happy in my marriage. What do I do then?” And we work on that. “I need to do this because if I don’t stop working, I’m going to eat. And I don’t want to gain weight.” Well, how about we just look at what’s happening inside of your brain that makes you think that you have to avoid versus just … What if we could just know that there’s food in the pantry and not eat against our will? Right?
And for some of you, working has been a buffer for so long. Staying busy, you don’t know the difference anymore. Like, “Who are you if you’re not working?” And that’s scary in and of itself. I had to ask my coach about six months ago, she’s like, “You don’t really take any time for self care.” And I, honestly, I finally just got really vulnerable with her and I said, “I don’t even know what that means. Can you make me a list? What is self care? Is that like a bath? What does that mean?” Because she was right. I don’t do … I have had to practice self care, and I’m still kind of suck at it. I’m going to the tell you the truth. This is a serious one for me. I’m working on it. And what is self care that doesn’t involve half of a chocolate cake, right?
So, here’s the thing. All of us experience burnout because all of us have brains. And to the extent that we don’t notice our own thinking, we will continue to experience physical and emotional exhaustion, which then means we want out. We think it’s the circumstance. And in this case, as an entrepreneur, a lot of you take it and think, “It’s the business’s fault. If I could just get out of the business, I would feel better.” And I just promise you, that is just not true. So, how about we just deal with it? Let’s just tell the truth. Instead of saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m so burnt out,” we say, “Yeah. Oh my gosh, I have so many thoughts in my brain that are affecting how I feel right now, and I’d like to work on them.” Right? “I’m not making decisions. I’m focusing on things that feel easy instead of doing the things that are hard.” “I don’t have a job description and I don’t have goals.” “I don’t set boundaries with my team, and I’m completely available at all times. And I’m using my company and my work to avoid something, and I’m buffering.” Just tell the truth. Which one is it?
And then if you need help working through it, there’s nothing wrong with you either! Because we all do. I honestly don’t know how I could function. My girlfriend, Brooke Castillo, who is also my mentor, who was also my coach, I don’t know how I would survive without her. She called me the other day at 6:30 in the morning. I was sitting in front of my desktop working on ConvertKit, trying to figure out a funnel. And I was about to throw my 26 inch Mac through the window. And she called me, and she said, “I just knew that I needed to come rescue you from your brain. I could tell you have spent far too long in there by yourself. I’m here to help you.” I’m a coach, you guys. I need coaching all the time. I coach myself, and then I ask for it. You are not … There’s nothing wrong here. But what will make you crazy is if you don’t get the help you need, you get support. And it’s available. You listen to me all the time. I’m right here. I’ll help you. “Let’s go.” Right?
All right. I’m so glad. Today was longer podcast, but I think it was worth it. Have an amazing day. And when you’re ready, I’m here. I’m dying to meet you and work with you when you’re ready.
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