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Friday, July 26, 2013

How to recover from Burnout: Networking as a Spiritual Salve

Photo Credits: Markus

Burnout is your enemy as a leader. 

People respond positively to passion. When the leader is genuinely excited, believes in the work, and shows his or her excitement, it is infectious. Similarly, when the leader is disinterested in the work, fails to respond in a timely manner or not at all to new ideas or requests for decisions, staff find it hard to keep their own passion for the work. When CEOs lose their passion, it is time for them to either voluntarily move on or for their boards to ask them to leave.
- Nonprofit management 101

Emotional Contagion

Emotions are contagious and can change whole groups of people through emotional contagion. Since emotions aren't tangible it can spread without you being aware. A great example of emotional contagion within an organization would be the County High school in McMinnville, Tennessee. One of the teachers believed she smelled gasoline and that caused her to have headaches  dizziness and nausea. The children seeing her response soon developed symptoms and other students seeing classmates feeling that way began to develop the symptoms as well. By the end of it all the entire school was closed for four days as a result. A report by the New England Journal of Medicine states that it spread because of individuals directly viewing others illness during the outbreak. 

Are you aware of your own emotions and what's being spread?

Burning out

During my early leadership roles I worked on my own and really learned what they meant when they said, "its lonely at the top". Being a leader is challenging where we can be overloaded with work, never have enough time to catch up and constant tough decision making. I burned out and experienced all the symptoms of it. Feeling disengaged, a sense of detachment, and a loss of motivation. Turns out burnout is very real and not just something that happens to other people. Learning to take care not to reach that state is important for being the best that you can be. 

Networking as a spiritual salve - Reignite your passion

Photo Credits by: Pedro Moura Pinheiro

There are two main ways networking helps reignite my passion. One is through Meeting with people I admire who have overcome challenges I am facing or farther ahead in their careers. The other is through meeting with peers who are working towards ambitious goals or facing similar challenges. All of them help in re-igniting that passion for me and more. 

Peers and Professional Associations

Emotions are contagious and when I hear how excited people are about their projects and the success that they are having, I start feeling that same desire and drive again for myself. Often times through listening I can learn new ideas to overcome my challenges or ways to move forward on my own projects. The benefits are synergistic as well as everyone who attends becomes both teacher and students which helps us grow professionally as well as personally.

But above all, one of the best things about being a part of these communities is that I can voice my challenges and frustrations to people who understand where I'm coming from. The value of that as a leader cannot be understated.

Experts and Professionals

They help in providing the road map to getting where I want to be at a faster pace. Ever gotten lost in a neighborhood you've never been to looking for a friend's house? Asking someone who knows it inside it out and you'll be back on track and where you want to be immediately. Getting the feedback and advice allows me to see blind pitfalls that could stop me from moving forward.

An example would be last week where I had the opportunity to have a get together with Sandra Reder who is an amazing relationship builder and coincidentally was doing webinar about the topic of Authentic networking. Just the very topic that I have been obsessing over and researching into and trying to learn more about for work purposes! Same idea when I met with Chris Bradley who helped provide me with inspiration as well as direction towards developing my career which I covered in a previous blog post.

Both of them are amazing and not only answered difficult questions and provided insight. Not only do I learn from them but hearing about their successes inspires me that my goals are achievable and possible.

Take the time to network

I didn't always make time to network through going to professional events and meeting experts. However, networking allows me to prevent burnout and revitalize my passion as well as move forward faster. How are you taking care not to burnout? 


By Stevie Vu

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